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.