Politics & Policies

Voters are often blatantly misinformed about the facts of immigration, but are willing to update their perceptions

The recent political success of right-wing populists in the US and in many European countries is often attributed to a surge in anti-immigrant sentiments among broad parts of voter populations. Researchers, however, have struggled to understand the development of these hostile attitudes. What are key drivers and determinants? Can misperceptions be tackled? These questions are addressed in several recently published IZA Discussion Papers.

Empirical data suggest that voters are often blatantly misinformed about the facts of immigration. As an example, the chart above shows a high degree of misperception among people worldwide about the share of Muslims living in their country. Similar figures have been found for over-estimations of immigrant proportions in general.


The good news is, people are willing to update their perceptions in response to newly provided factual information. This is the finding of an IZA Discussion Paper by Oxford economists Alexis Grigorieff and Christopher Roth with Diego Ubfal (Bocconi University, IGIER and IZA), who have studied whether providing official statistics about immigrants affects people’s attitude towards them.

Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at Decoding attitudes towards migrants | IZA Newsroom


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