The Effects of Negative and Positive Information on Attitudes toward Immigration

         
Author Name IGARASHI Akira (Rikkyo University) / ONO Yoshikuni (Faculty Fellow, RIETI)
Creation Date/NO. March 2020 20-E-023
Research Project Research on Political Behavior and Decision Making: Searching for evidence-based solutions to political challenges in the economy and industry
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Abstract

The literature on immigration has emphasized the close connection between potential threats posed by immigrants and the development of anti-immigrant sentiment among natives. Yet, immigrants also benefit the host society, and we know little about the effects of perceived benefits on attitudes toward immigration. By conducting a vignette survey experiment, we explore how exposure to negative and positive information about immigrants shapes people's attitudes toward immigration. Our results show that feelings of hostility toward immigrants are reduced in respondents when they are exposed to positive information, while the exposure to negative information does not necessarily change their attitude. Interestingly, these results are equally observed across four major issue domains discussed in existing studies—jobs, financial burden, culture, and physical safety. Furthermore, the effects of exposure to positive information are not modified by partisanship, race, education, or exposure to immigrants. These results suggest that pro-immigrant rhetoric can be effective in changing people's attitudes toward immigration.