Project

Back to overview

Explaining Individual Attitudes towards Foreigners in Switzerland

English title Explaining Individual Attitudes towards Foreigners in Switzerland
Applicant Ruedin Didier
Number 138620
Funding scheme Project funding (Div. I-III)
Research institution Forum Suisse pour l'étude des migrations et de la population Université de Neuchâtel
Institution of higher education Université de Neuchâtel - NE
Disciplines Economics
Start/End 01.11.2011 - 30.06.2013
Approved amount 53'801.00
Show all

Keywords (5)

immigration, panel data, individual attitudes, prejudice, labour market competition

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Lay summary

In the past three decades, immigration has become systematically politicized by parties on the right. It appears that support for anti-immigrant policies and organizations is growing. There is a growing literature on the attitudes of the mainstream society towards foreigners and immigrants, but there is very little research on Switzerland. The project asks one question: How can we explain individual differences in attitudes toward foreign citizens in Switzerland? The most common explanation for attitudes towards foreigners is that negative attitudes towards foreigners and immigrants are a direct reaction against unwanted competition. By combining insights from economic and political sciences, the project will offer new insights into the dynamics of attitudes towards foreigners, paying close attention to different explanatory theories. The project is innovative by using individual-level panel data from the Swiss Household Panel (SHP). This will provide new insights on how attitudes towards foreigners and immigrants change over time within individuals, filling a gap in the existing literature. In the project, we consider the link between education and attitudes in a systematic and rigorous manner. Existing research tended to ignore such endogeneity problems. Innovative is further that we add considerations of the political system and formal institutions.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
A good foreigner is a foreigner who doesn’t steal my job: The attitudinal role of skills, unemployment risk and values
Pecoraro Marco, Ruedin Didier (2013), A good foreigner is a foreigner who doesn’t steal my job: The attitudinal role of skills, unemployment risk and values, FORS, Lausanne.
A Foreigner Who Doesn’t Steal My Job: The Role of Unemployment Risk and Values in Attitudes towards Equal Opportunities
Pecoraro Marco, Ruedin Didier (accepted), A Foreigner Who Doesn’t Steal My Job: The Role of Unemployment Risk and Values in Attitudes towards Equal Opportunities, in International Migration Review, 1.

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Date Place
ECPR Annual Conference Talk given at a conference 06.09.2014 Glasgow, Great Britain and Northern Ireland
IMISCOE Annual Conference Talk given at a conference 27.08.2014 Madrid, Spain
Dreiländertagung Talk given at a conference 20.09.2013 Innsbruck, Austria
IMISCOE Annual Conference Talk given at a conference 27.08.2013 Malmö, Sweden
Arnoldshain Seminar XI: Migration, Development, and Demographic Change – Problems, Consequences, Solutions Talk given at a conference 25.06.2013 Antwerp, Belgium, Belgium
International Conference of Panel Data Users in Switzerland Talk given at a conference 14.02.2013 Lausanne, Switzerland, Switzerland
Increasing Heterogeneity in the Workforce and its Impact Talk given at a conference 06.12.2012 Nuremberg, Germany, Germany


Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
Print (books, brochures, leaflets) Attitudes toward Foreigners in Switzerland: Of Education and Values in FORUM magazine Rhaeto-Romanic Switzerland Western Switzerland Italian-speaking Switzerland German-speaking Switzerland 2013
Print (books, brochures, leaflets) Wie Arbeitslosigkeitsrisiko und kulturelle Werte die Einstellung gegenüber Ausländern beeinflussen Die Volkswirtschaft German-speaking Switzerland 2013
Print (books, brochures, leaflets) Le rôle du risque de chômage et des valeurs dans l’attitude envers les étrangers Western Switzerland 2013
New media (web, blogs, podcasts, news feeds etc.) Foreigners that Steal Jobs? druedin.com International 2013

Awards

Title Year
Nominated for the Rinus Penninx Best Paper Award 2014

Abstract

In the past three decades, immigration has become one of the most prominent topics in election campaigns in Switzerland, systematically politicized by parties on the right. As elsewhere in Europe, there appears to be growing support for anti-immigrant policies and organizations associated with anti-immigrant sentiments. Despite a growing literature on the attitudes of the mainstream society towards foreigners and immigrants, there is very little research on Switzerland. Considering that more than a fifth of the population are foreign citizens in Switzerland, and given the electoral success of the Swiss People’s Party (SVP/UDC), this is surprising. The project is concentrated on a single research question: Which contextual and individual level factors are associated with attitudes towards foreign citizens in Switzerland? The most common and perhaps most basic explanation for attitudes towards foreigners revolves around the idea of competition over economic resources and political power. Following this approach, negative attitudes towards foreigners and immigrants are seen as a direct reaction against unwanted competition. Both economists and political scientists have refined the argument, and formulated alternative explanations, such as the role of prejudice, ideology, or cultural values (see Ceobanu and Excandell 2010 for a recent review). The proposed research will apply the various theories developed in the literature to longitudinal data. The use of longitudinal data is important for two reasons. First, many of the explanations in the literature make implicit claims about changes in time. Second, it allows controlling for unobservable individual characteristics when studying the determinants of attitudes. The proposed research will apply existing research on attitudes towards foreigners to Switzerland. Recent developments in the literature will be applied in a systematic manner. Moreover, using a rigorous and systematic approach, the project will contribute to the wider literature in a number of ways. For example, the project is innovative by using individual-level panel data from the Swiss Household Panel (SHP). This will provide new insights on how attitudes towards foreigners and immigrants change over time within individuals, filling a gap in the existing literature, where repeated cross-sectional data are used, if changes over time are considered at all. By combining insights from economic and political sciences, the project will offer new insights into the dynamics of attitudes towards foreigners by paying close attention to different explanatory theories. Innovative is that we consider the link between education and attitudes in a systematic and rigorous manner. Existing research tended to ignore the endogeneity problem when estimating attitudinal effects of the welfare mechanism. Innovative is further that we add considerations of the system and institutions. Ceobanu and Excandell (2010) highlighted the lack of such considerations in existing studies as one of the most significant gap in the literature.