Countering Public Opposition to Immigration: The impact of information campaigns

         
Author Name Giovanni FACCHINI (University of Nottingham) / Yotam MARGALIT (Tel Aviv University) / NAKATA Hiroyuki (Senior Fellow, RIETI)
Creation Date/NO. June 2017 17-E-094
Research Project Attitudes toward Immigration in an Aging Society: Evidence from Japan
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Abstract

Popular sentiment toward immigration is often antagonistic, making the integration of migrants one of the most important yet daunting challenges facing societies in advanced economies. Can information campaigns decrease public opposition to immigration? This paper reports results from a large-scale experiment conducted in Japan, a country with highly restrictive immigration laws and widespread anti-immigration sentiment. We exposed a large national sample of citizens to information pertaining to potential social and economic benefits from immigration. Depending on the treatment, we find that this exposure led to increased support for allowing more immigrants into the country by 12-21 percentage points, or over 70% above the baseline rate. The treatments also motivated citizens to take political action in support of a more open immigration policy. Notably, while smaller in magnitude, many effects also persisted 10-12 days after the treatment. The results highlight the potential value of combating enmity to incoming foreigners with campaigns that inform the public about the key positive impacts of immigration.