DP7592 Individual attitudes towards skilled migration: an empirical analysis across countries

Author(s): Giovanni Facchini, Anna Maria Mayda
Publication Date: December 2009
Keyword(s): attitudes, immigration policy, political economy, skilled immigration
JEL(s): F22, J61
Programme Areas: Labour Economics
Link to this Page: www.cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=7592

It is commonly argued that skilled immigration benefits the destination country through several channels. Yet, only a small group of countries reports to have policies in place aimed at increasing the intake of skilled immigrants. Why? In this paper we analyze the factors that affect a direct measure of individual attitudes towards skilled migration, focusing on two main channels: the labor market and the welfare state. We find that more educated natives are less likely to favor skilled immigration - consistent with the labor-market channel - while richer people are more likely to do so - in accordance with the welfare state channel under the tax adjustment model. Our findings thus suggest that the labor market competition threat perceived by skilled natives in the host countries might be driving the observed cautious policies.