Does Immigration affect Demand for Redistribution? An Experimental Design

Runst, P. (2018). Does Immigration affect Demand for Redistribution? An Experimental Design. German Economic Review, 19 (4), 383-400. Göttingen.

Does increasing immigration lower the electorate's demand for welfare state benefits? Results from a novel experiment suggest that such a shift in demand is unlikely to occur in the overall population. However, high income individuals lower their demand for redistribution when primed with information on immigration as they pay a large share of overall taxes. Taste effects, where voters do not desire transfer payments to ethnically different groups, seem to play a minor role. Low education individuals, on the other hand, demand more redistribution when primed. Immigration and demand for welfare are not correlated on average. However, if political systems are more responsive to highly educated voters, increased levels of immigration may lead to less redistribution.

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