Opposition to immigration is high in many advanced economies, despite a growing economic need for foreign workers to deal with domestic labor shortages. This need is particularly acute in aging societies that are confronting both a shrinking labor pool and a growing elderly population that requires ever more health and social services. Does the growing economic necessity for foreign labor reduce mass opposition to a more open immigration policy? We explore this question using a combination of observational and experimental survey data that will be collected in Japan. By randomly exposing citizens to different information about the immigration situation in the country, the economic justification for immigration liberalization, and the characteristics of the potential new entrants, we will assess the effects of different information and interest-based mechanisms. Our findings will offer both theoretical and practical insights regarding the effect of societal aging on mass attitudes toward immigration that will be useful in the design of effective and broadly supported migration policies.
April 20, 2015 - March 31, 2017