RIETI Report February 25 2022

Comparing attitudes towards immigrants across regions: A network science approach

Dear Readers,
Welcome to RIETI Report.
This bi-weekly newsletter will keep you updated with the recent columns, event information and research results by RIETI fellows and other leading economists in Japan and around the world.

In this edition, we present topics related to attitudes toward immigrants. By using network science, Rachael Kei Kawasaki and Yuichi Ikeda work to identify and compare the major determinants of attitudes towards immigrants in regions linked through migration.
We hope you will enjoy it. If you have any feedback, we would love to hear from you.
Editors of RIETI Report (Facebook: @en.RIETI / Twitter: @RIETIenglish / URL: https://www.rieti.go.jp/en/)

This month's featured article

Comparing attitudes towards immigrants across regions: A network science approach

Rachael Kei KAWASAKIKyoto University

IKEDA YuichiKyoto University

Attitudes towards immigrants have recently been central to seismic shifts in policy and politics globally, as seen in the rise of populist and nationalist parties. Various theories have posited the cause of negative attitudes and of their centrality to political movements, relying on explanations such as economic anxiety caused by labour market competition and increased fiscal burden, prejudice, and whether the issue becomes more salient for individuals through increased coverage by politicians and the media (Ceobanu and Escandell 2010, Hainmueller and Hopkins 2014).

Despite the wealth of literature on the topic, research on attitudes towards immigrants has long lacked a global context. Studies overwhelmingly focus on a few developed countries in the Western world, leading to the generalisation of truisms and best practices on communication that may actually be context-specific. In anticipation of changes both to migration flows and in the socio-political context in many countries, our recent study (Kawasaki and Ikeda 2021) aims to expand the literature through a novel use of network science to identify and compare the major determinants of attitudes towards immigrants in regions linked through migration. The results contextualise the literature on attitudes towards immigrants by taking a global context, find generalisable and unique determinants for each region, and touch on longstanding debates about the relative importance of material economic concerns and social identities.

We find that regardless of the country, prejudice is the most central determinant of attitudes towards immigrants, especially negative attitudes towards people of another race. Moreover, our findings reinforce the cross-cultural psychological literature that shows that, on average, individuals in European countries have a more values-based approach to determining attitudes, meaning that feelings towards specific issues, like towards immigrants, are derived by more stable and general attitudes, such as the importance one places on fairness or on tradition. As such, while communicating based on value may be the best way to sway debate in Europe (Du Bled et al. 2019), these strategies may have limited effect in non-European contexts where social norms have a greater influence on individual attitudes and where respondents express more ambivalent and less decisive attitudes (Ng et al. 2012).

To read the full text

Related DP

Our latest discussion paper

"Foreign Direct Investment and Markups"
by HOSONO Kaoru (Faculty Fellow, RIETI) / TAKIZAWA Miho (Gakushuin University) / YAMANOUCHI Kenta (Kagawa University)

"Third Country Effects of Trump Tariffs: Which Countries Benefited from Trump's Trade War?"
by ITO Tadashi (Gakushuin University)

"Effects of the Quality of Science and Innovation on Venture Finance: Evidence from University Spinoffs in Japan"
by FUKUGAWA Nobuya (Tohoku University)

"Individual Preferences Toward Inward Foreign Direct Investment: A Conjoint Survey Experiment"
by TANAKA Ayumu (Research Associate, RIETI) / ITO Banri (Research Associate, RIETI) / JINJI Naoto (Faculty Fellow, RIETI)

"Do Teachers' College Majors Affect Students' Academic Achievement in the Sciences? A Cross Subfields Analysis with Student-Teacher Fixed Effects"
by INOUE Atsushi (Nippon Institute for Research Advancement) / TANAKA Ryuichi (Faculty Fellow, RIETI)

[List of discussion papers]

* To subscribe, please go to SHANON's website.

Event Information

For a complete list of past and upcoming event information.



BBL Seminars

Fellow titles and links in the text are as of the date of publication.

For questions or comments regarding RIETI Report, please contact the editor.

*If the "Send by mailer" button does not work, please copy the address into your email "send to" field and connect the prefix and the suffix of the address with an "@", sending it normally.

RIETI Report is published bi-weekly.