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Geographical proximity to refugee reception centres and voting

Massimiliano Bratti, Claudio Deiana, Enkelejda Havari (), Gianluca Mazzarella and Elena Meroni ()

Journal of Urban Economics, 2020, vol. 120, issue C

Abstract: A number of studies examine the effect of the presence of migrants or refugees on voting behaviour in the same location, overlooking potential interactions between geographical areas. Exploiting unique data on refugee reception centre locations, we provide novel empirical evidence on the geographical spillover effect of refugee premises on voting outcomes in neighbouring municipalities. Our analysis of the 2016 referendum and the 2013 and 2018 general elections demonstrates that proximity to refugee reception centres increases voter turnout and the share of votes for populist parties in Italy, while reducing support for the centre-left. Importantly, the effect varies by municipality population size, per capita taxable income level, former political orientation, and access to broadband internet. Consistent with the hypothesis that opposition parties might have exploited anti-immigration sentiments to influence both referendum and general election ballots, we find that geographical proximity to refugee centres partly contributes to the recent success of populist parties in Italy.

Keywords: Refugees; Geographical spillovers; Proximity; Voting; Italy (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1016/j.jue.2020.103290

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