Journal of Population Economics

, Volume 33, Issue 1, pp 1–32 | Cite as

Hate at first sight? Dynamic aspects of the electoral impact of migration: the case of Ukip

  • Eugenio LeviEmail author
  • Rama Dasi Mariani
  • Fabrizio Patriarca
Original Paper


In this paper, we test the hypothesis that the causal effect of immigrant presence on anti-immigrant votes is a short-run effect. For this purpose, we consider a distributed lag model and adapt the standard instrumental variable approach proposed by Altonji and Card (1991) to a dynamic framework. The evidence from our case study, votes for the UK Independent Party (Ukip) in recent European elections, supports our hypothesis. Furthermore, we find that this effect is robust to differences across areas in terms of population density and socioeconomic characteristics, and it is only partly explained by integration issues.


Immigration Voting Political economy 

JEL codes

P16 J61 D72 



We thank Christian Dustmann, Carlo De Villanova, Edoardo Di Porto, Tommaso Frattini, Majlinda Joxhe, Fabrizio Mazzonna, Paolo Naticchioni, and Jackie Wabha for their comments and suggestions. A previous version of this work has been presented to the “International Conference on Migration and Welfare” (Sapienza University of Rome), “3rd Workshop on the Economics of Migration” (Southampton University), “LUMSA Economics Seminars” (LUMSA University), “The Economics of Post-Factual Democracy Conference” (University of Copenhagen), “The Law of Economics of Migration and Mobility Conference” (University of Bern), “Workshop on Recent Developments on Migration Issues” (BETA, Luxembourg), and to the INEQ Research Group meeting (Sapienza University of Rome). We are grateful to all the participants for their useful hints. We thank the editor Klaus F. Zimmermann and two anonymous referees for their comments and suggestions that led to a considerable improvement of the paper. A slightly different version of this work circulated under the title “Hate at first sight? Dynamic aspects of the electoral impact of migration: The case of UK and Brexit” as a SPRU Working Paper. The usual disclaimer applies.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


  1. Abbondanza G, Bailo F (2018) The electoral payoff of immigration flows for anti-immigration parties: the case of Italy’s Lega Nord. Eur Polit Sci 17:378–403CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Allport GW (1954) The nature of prejudice. Addison-Wesley, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  3. Altonji JG, Card D (1991) The effects of immigration on the labor market outcomes of less-skilled natives. In: Abowd JM, Freeman RB (eds) Immigration, trade and the labor market. University of Chicago Press, pp 201–234Google Scholar
  4. Arrow K (1971) The theory of discrimination. Discrimination Labor Markets 3(10):3–33Google Scholar
  5. Barone G, D’Ignazio A, De Blasio G, Naticchioni P (2016) Mr. Rossi, Mr. Hu and politics. The role of immigration in shaping natives’ voting behavior. J Public Econ 136:1–13CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bartel AP (1989) Where do the new U.S. immigrants live? J Labor Econ 7(4):371–391CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bauer T, Epstein GS, Gang IN (2007) The influence of stocks and flows on migrants’ location choices. Res Labor Econ 26:199–229CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Becker SO, Fetzer T (2016) Does migration cause extreme voting?. Center for Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy and The Economic & Social Research CouncilGoogle Scholar
  9. Becker SO, Fetzer T, Novy D (2017) Who voted for Brexit? A comprehensive district-level analysis. Econ Policy 32(92):601–650CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Beine M, Docquier F, Özden Ç (2011) Diasporas. J Dev Econ 95(1):30–41CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Bianchi M, Buonanno P, Pinotti P (2012) Do immigrants cause crime? J Eur Econ Assoc 10(6):1318–1347CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Borjas GJ (2006) Native internal migration and the labor market impact of immigration. J Hum Resour 41(2):222–258Google Scholar
  13. Brunner B, Kuhn A (2018) Immigration, cultural distance and natives’ attitudes towards immigrants: evidence from Swiss voting results. Kyklos 71(1):28–58CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Card D, Di Nardo J (2000) Do immigrant inflows lead to native outflows? Am Econ Rev 90(2):360–367CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Card D, Dustmann C, Preston I (2005) Understanding attitudes to immigration: the migration and minority module of the first European Social Survey. CDP Discussion Paper Series 03/05, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration, University of LondonGoogle Scholar
  16. Card D, Dustmann C, Preston I (2012) Immigration, wages, and compositional amenities. J Eur Econ Assoc 10(1):78–119CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Cesur R, Mocan N (2018) Education, religion, and voter preference in a Muslim country. J Popul Econ 31(1):1–44CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Colantone I, Stanig P (2018) Global competition and Brexit. Am Pol Sci Rev 112(2):201–2018CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Cortés P, Pan J (2014) Foreign nurse importation and the supply of native nurses. J Health Econ 37:164–180CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Dustmann C, Preston I (2007) Racial and economic factor in attitudes to immigration. BE J Econ Anal Policy (Contributions) 7(1):1–39Google Scholar
  21. Dustmann C, Vasiljeva K, Damm AP (2018) Refugee migration and electoral outcomes. Rev Econ Stud:rdy047Google Scholar
  22. Epstein GS, Heizler-Cohen OH (2016) The formation of networks in the diaspora. Int J Manpow 37(7):1136–1153CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Facchini G, Mayda AM (2009) Does the welfare state affect individual attitudes toward immigrants? Evidence across countries. Rev Econ Stat 91(2):295–314CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Halla M, Wagner AF, Zweimüller J (2017) Immigration and voting for the far right. J Eur Econ Assoc 15(6):1341–1385CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Harmon NA (2018) Immigration, ethnic diversity, and political outcomes: evidence from Denmark. Scand J Econ 120(4):1043–1074CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Immerzeel T, Pickup M (2015) Populist radical right parties mobilizing ‘the people’? The role of populist radical right success in voter turnout. Elect Stud 40:347–360CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Jaeger DA, Ruist J, Stuhler J (2018) Shift-share instruments and the impact of immigration. NBER Working Paper No.24285Google Scholar
  28. King G (1997) A solution to the ecological inference problem. Princeton University Press, PrincetonGoogle Scholar
  29. Mayda AM (2006) Who is against immigration? A cross-country investigation of individual attitudes toward immigrants. Rev Econ Stat 88(3):510–530CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Mayda AM (2010) International migration: a panel data analysis of the determinants of bilateral flows. J Popul Econ 23(4):1249–1274CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Mayda AM, Peri G, Steingress W (2016) Immigration to the US: a problem for the republicans or the democrats? NBER Working Paper No.21941Google Scholar
  32. Mendez I, Cutillas IM (2014) Has immigration affected Spanish presidential elections results? J Popul Econ 27(1):135–171CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Otto AH, Steinhardt MF (2014) Immigration and election out-comes—evidence from city districts in Hamburg. Reg Sci Urban Econ 45:67–79CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Peri G, Sparber C (2011) Assessing inherent model bias: an application to native displacement in response to immigration. J Urban Econ 69:82–91CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Pesaran MH (2007) A simple panel unit root test in the presence of cross-section dependence. J Appl Econ 22(2):265–312CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Rotte R, Steininger M (2009) Crime, unemployment, and xenophobia? An ecological analysis of right-wing election results in Hamburg, 1986-2005. Rev Reg Res 29:29–63Google Scholar
  37. Scheve KF, Slaughter MJ (2001) Labor market competition and individual preferences over immigration policy. Rev Econ Stat 83(1):133–145CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Slotwinski M, Stutzer A (2019) The deterrent effect of an anti-minaret vote on foreigners’ location choices. J Popul Econ 32:1043–1095CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Steinmayr A (2016) Exposure to refugees and voting for the far-right: (Unexpected) results from Austria. IZA Discussion Papers 9790Google Scholar
  40. Stockemer D (2017) The success of radical right-wing parties in Western European regions–new challenging findings. J Contemp Eur Stud 25(1):41–56CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Vertier P, Viskanic M (2018) Dismantling the “jungle”: migrant relocation and extreme voting in France. CESifo Working paper 6927Google Scholar
  42. Viskanic M (2017) Fear and loathing on the campaign trail: did immigration cause Brexit?.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Free University of Bozen-BolzanoBolzanoItaly
  2. 2.University of Rome “Tor Vergata”RomeItaly
  3. 3.University of Modena and Reggio EmiliaModenaItaly

Personalised recommendations