DP9102 Immigration and Voting for the Far Right

Author(s): Martin Halla, Alexander F Wagner, Josef Zweimüller
Publication Date: August 2012
Date Revised: August 2016
Keyword(s): immigration, political economy, voting
JEL(s): J61, P16
Programme Areas: Public Economics
Link to this Page: www.cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=9102

Does the presence of immigrants in one's neighbourhood affect voting for far right-wing parties? We study the case of the Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ) which, under the leadership of Jörg Haider, increased its vote share from less than 5 percent in the early 1980s to 27 percent by the end of the 1990s and continued to attract more than 20 percent of voters in the 2013 national election. We find that the inflow of immigrants into a community has a significant impact on the increase in the community's voting share for the FPÖ, explaining roughly a tenth of the regional variation in vote changes. Our results suggest that voters worry about adverse labor market effects of immigration, as well as about the quality of their neighbourhood. In fact, we find evidence of a negative impact of immigration on "compositional amenities." In communities with larger immigration influx, Austrian children commute longer distances to school, and fewer daycare resources are provided. We do not find evidence that Austrians move out of communities with increasing immigrant presence.