Has immigration affected Spanish presidential elections results?
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Between 1998 and 2008, the immigrant share in Spain jumped from less than 3 % to more than 13 %. We provide bounds on the effect of immigration inflows on natives’ election outcomes by considering alternative assumptions about nationalized immigrants’ participation rates and voting behavior. We find that Latin-American immigration increased natives’ participation rate and their support for the major leftist party (Socialist Workers’ Party) over the major conservative party (People’s Party (PP)). Conversely, African immigration only increased natives’ support for anti-immigration formations relative to the PP while leaving unaffected their participation rate. The estimated effects are of modest size in all cases. We provide suggestive evidence that economic factors cannot account for such a heterogeneity in the effects of interest by immigrants’ ethnic groups. We argue that Spanish natives’ attitudes towards immigrants are mainly driven by noneconomic factors like dissimilarities between natives and immigrants in language, religion, and race.
KeywordsImmigration Electoral outcomes Instrumental variables National identity
We thank the editor and the three anonymous referees for their comments and suggestions that led to considerable improvements of the paper.
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