How perceptions of immigrants trigger feelings of economic and cultural threats in two welfare states

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Series Details Vol.19, No.1, March 2018, p119-139
Publication Date March 2018
ISSN 1465-1165
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Better understanding of attitudes toward immigration is crucial to avoid misperception of immigration in the public debate. Through two identical online survey experiments applying morphed faces of non-Western immigrants and textual vignettes, the authors manipulate complexion, education, family background, and gender in Denmark and Germany. For women, an additional split in which half of the women wore a headscarf is performed.

In both countries, highly skilled immigrants are preferred to low-skilled immigrants. Danes are more skeptical toward non-Western immigration than Germans. Essentially, less educated Danes are very critical of accepting non-Western immigrants in their country. It is suggested that this difference is driven by a large welfare state in Denmark compared to Germany, suggesting a stronger fear in welfare societies that immigrants will exploit welfare benefits.

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