Title: Wish you were here? Quasi-experimental evidence on the effect of education on self-reported attitude toward immigrants
Citation: EUROPEAN ECONOMIC REVIEW vol. 90 p. 201-224
Publication Year: 2016
JRC N°: JRC96083
ISSN: 0014-2921
URI: http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC96083
DOI: 10.1016/j.euroecorev.2016.02.007
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: We use European Social Survey and Labour Force Survey data from 2002 to 2012 to estimate the causal effect of years of education on European natives׳ opinion toward immigration, by exploiting the exogenous discontinuity generated by reforms in compulsory education in Europe in the 1940s through the 1990s. Our findings show that higher levels of education lead to a more positive reported attitude toward immigrants. We also investigate the mechanisms behind the effect of education on reported attitudes by evaluating both economic and non-economic channels. We find that higher levels of education place individuals in occupations that are less exposed to the negative effects of migration, although not in sectors/occupations where the share of migrants is necessarily smaller, suggesting that migrants and low-educated natives may be complementary rather than substitutes in the labour market. In addition, education alters values and the cognitive assessment of the role of immigration in host societies, with a positive effect on reported attitude toward diversity and on the assessment of immigration׳s role in host countries. Our findings suggest that education as a policy instrument can increase social cohesion in societies that are subject to large immigration flows.
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