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Who gets a Swiss passport? A natural experiment in immigrant discrimination


Hainmüller, Jens; Hangartner, Dominik (2013). Who gets a Swiss passport? A natural experiment in immigrant discrimination. American Political Science Review, 107(1):159-187.

Abstract

We study discrimination against immigrants using microlevel data from Switzerland, where, until recently, some municipalities used referendums to decide on the citizenship applications of foreign residents. We show that naturalization decisions vary dramatically with immigrants’ attributes, which we collect from official applicant descriptions that voters received before each referendum. Country of origin determines naturalization success more than any other applicant characteristic, including language skills, integration status, and economic credentials. The average proportion of “no” votes is about 40% higher for applicants from (the former) Yugoslavia and Turkey compared to observably similar applicants from richer northern and western European countries. Statistical and taste-based discrimination contribute to varying naturalization success; the rewards for economic credentials are higher for applicants from disadvantaged origins, and origin-based discrimination is much stronger in more xenophobic municipalities. Moreover, discrimination against specific immigrant groups responds dynamically to changes in the groups’ relative size.

Abstract

We study discrimination against immigrants using microlevel data from Switzerland, where, until recently, some municipalities used referendums to decide on the citizenship applications of foreign residents. We show that naturalization decisions vary dramatically with immigrants’ attributes, which we collect from official applicant descriptions that voters received before each referendum. Country of origin determines naturalization success more than any other applicant characteristic, including language skills, integration status, and economic credentials. The average proportion of “no” votes is about 40% higher for applicants from (the former) Yugoslavia and Turkey compared to observably similar applicants from richer northern and western European countries. Statistical and taste-based discrimination contribute to varying naturalization success; the rewards for economic credentials are higher for applicants from disadvantaged origins, and origin-based discrimination is much stronger in more xenophobic municipalities. Moreover, discrimination against specific immigrant groups responds dynamically to changes in the groups’ relative size.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:National licences > 142-005
Dewey Decimal Classification:320 Political science
Language:English
Date:1 February 2013
Deposited On:01 Nov 2018 15:53
Last Modified:24 Sep 2019 23:41
Publisher:Cambridge University Press
ISSN:0003-0554
OA Status:Green
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1017/s0003055412000494
Related URLs:https://www.swissbib.ch/Search/Results?lookfor=nationallicencecambridge101017S0003055412000494 (Library Catalogue)

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