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Occupational exposure to foreigners and attitudes towards equal opportunities

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Author Pecoraro Marco, Ruedin Didier,
Project Explaining Individual Attitudes towards Foreigners in Switzerland
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Migration Studies
Title of proceedings Migration Studies
DOI 10.1093/migration/mnz006


We examine the relationship between attitudes to foreigners and the share of foreigners at the occupational level. Using a question on equal opportunities for foreigners from the Swiss Household Panel, ordered probit regression models show a negative association between the share of foreigners in one’s occupation and positive attitudes to foreigners: workers seem to react to competition with foreigners. When we add the occupational unemployment rate, objective pressures in the labour market appear as relevant as contact at the occupational level. Further controlling for occupational heterogeneity establishes that both factors—particularly objective pressures—are probably accounted for by sorting on job quality. We also show that the association between the occupational share of foreigners and attitudes decreases for workers with better job prospects. This implies that workers welcome foreigners to overcome labour market shortages.