Comparative European Politics

, Volume 5, Issue 3, pp 264–281 | Cite as

Public Opinion on Immigration in Western Europe: Economics, Tolerance, and Exposure

  • Jason E Kehrberg
Original Article


Several studies of cross-national attitudes on immigration use a theory of self-interest that focuses upon the relative size of the immigrant group and the economic situation of the survey respondent. Kunovich wrote that attitudes can also be shaped by national economics, political structure, and culture. This study examines the influences of national economics and one factor of culture: political tolerance. I build upon previous explanations of public attitudes on immigration in two ways. First, I add to the current knowledge concerning the influence of the national economy on attitudes by including estimates of economic wealth and growth. Second, I examine the influence of political tolerance on attitudes on immigration. This study uses ordered probit to examine data from the 1997 Eurobarometer survey. The results show that both economic and political tolerance influence public opinion on immigration. Therefore, attitudes are shaped by numerous factors beyond self-interest economic theories, including the health of the national economy and political tolerance.


public opinion immigration political tolerance exposure economics 


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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan Ltd 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jason E Kehrberg
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceUniversity of KentuckyLexingtonUSA

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