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The Impact of the Great Recession on Perceived Immigrant Threat: A Cross-National Study of 22 Countries

Kwak, Joonghyun and Wallace, Michael (2018) 'The Impact of the Great Recession on Perceived Immigrant Threat: A Cross-National Study of 22 Countries.' Societies, 8 (3). p. 52. ISSN 2075-4698

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In an increasingly globalized world, anti-immigrant sentiment has become more prevalent. Competitive threat theory suggests that anti-immigrant attitudes increase when adverse economic circumstances intensify competition with immigrants for scarce resources, but past studies using this approach are inconclusive. In this study, we investigate the impact of the Great Recession on perceived immigrant threat—an index of seven items measuring attitudes toward immigrants—using the 2013 International Social Survey Program survey. Using multilevel models, we analyze responses from 18,433 respondents nested within 22 countries. We create a country-level measure of the Great Recession Index comprised of four dimensions—the housing crash, the financial crisis, economic decline, and employment loss—and assess its impact on perceived immigrant threat. After controlling for a variety of individual-level and country-level covariates, we find that the Great Recession is positively associated with perceived immigrant threat. We also identify important interaction effects between the Great Recession Index and change in government expenditures, age, educational levels, citizenship, and urbanization. The study contributes to competitive threat theory by showing the effect of the Great Recession in exacerbating anti-immigrant sentiment.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: immigration; public attitudes; competitive threat theory; Great Recession; globalization
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences
Faculty of Social Sciences > Institute for Social and Economic Research
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 19 Jul 2021 08:14
Last Modified: 23 Sep 2022 19:46

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