Our real issues with immigration?

The study focuses on evaluations of the impact of immigration on the country’s economy, culture, and quality of life overall and find that otherwise similar people living in different regions tend to vary widely in their perceptions. Attitudes vary, not only across regions of the same country, but also across the three categories of attitudes – economic/cultural/overall impact.

Summarising the study for the LSE British Politics and Policy blog Ms Markaki explains:

“We compare attitudes of natives across more than 64 regions of 24 countries in Europe and find that native-born residents in regions of the UK and Greece are significantly more likely than residents of other European regions to evaluate immigration as harmful to their country.

“However, UK natives are, on average, more likely to express concern over the impact of immigration on culture and quality of life overall, than concerns over the economic impacts of immigration.”

“Native-born residents in the West Midlands and in Yorkshire and the Humber are more likely to express concerns over all three types of impact. The view that immigration as harmful for the country’s culture and quality of life overall is more pronounced among native-born residents in the East Midlands, Wales, and the South West.”

“Amidst widespread belief to the contrary, numerous studies using different sources of data, countries of focus, and time-frames have consistently found the effect of an increase in immigration on wages and employment to be so close to zero. In some cases it is estimated to be small and positive while in others small and negative. This empirical finding also holds for those groups of native workers who are the closest substitutes for foreign workers and are therefore likely to directly compete for jobs.”

“Overall, existing evidence suggests that policy makers have been caught between the (positive) impacts of immigration estimated and predicted by researchers and the perceived (negative) impacts of immigration among the public. Acknowledging and addressing this ‘gap’ may be the only way to prevent biasing future policies towards a direction that is harmful to the country’s economy and society.”


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