Individual and Contextual Sources of (Mis)Perceptions About the Impact of Immigration on the Welfare State
In this article, Samir Negash, PhD candidate at the Institute of Public Administratation, discusses the discrepancy in European countries between the measured impact of immigration on the welfare state and how this impact is perceived by citizens.
- Samir Negash
- 10 October 2022
- Read the full article here
There is a large discrepancy in European countries between the measured impact of immigration on the welfare state and how this impact is perceived by citizens. This study examines the determinants of individuals’ perception of the impact of immigration on the welfare state. A number of hypotheses at both the individual and contextual level are tested using a multilevel model with data from the European Social Survey. This article finds that the institutional features of welfare states are associated with different views on the impact of immigration on welfare states: generous contributory social welfare benefits are associated with more favourable attitudes about immigrants, while generous non-contributory benefits, by contrast, are associated with more pessimistic assessments about the fiscal impact of immigration. This article argues that this can be because the latter potentially signals to natives that migrants could access generous benefits without any requisite work history. At the individual-level, the results indicate that subjective risk and general opposition to immigration are powerful individual-level predictors: people who feel more economically insecure or who are generally opposed to immigration are more likely to think that it constitutes a burden for the welfare state.