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The Deterrent Effect of an Anti-Minaret Vote on Foreigners' Location Choices

Michaela Slotwinski and Alois Stutzer ()

Working papers from Faculty of Business and Economics - University of Basel

Abstract: In a national ballot in 2009, Swiss citizens surprisingly approved an amendment to the Swiss constitution to ban the further construction of minarets. The ballot outcome manifested reservations and anti-immigrant attitudes in regions of Switzerland which had previously been hidden. We exploit this fact as a natural experiment to identify the causal effect of negative attitudes towards immigrants on foreigners' location choices and thus indirectly on their utility. Based on a regression discontinuity design with unknown discontinuity points and administrative data on the population of foreigners, we find that the probability of their moving to a municipality which unexpectedly expressed stronger reservations decreases initially by about 40 percent. The effect is accompanied by a drop of housing prices in these municipalities and levels off over a period of about 5 months. Moreover, foreigners in high-skill occupations react relatively more strongly highlighting a tension when countries try to attract well-educated professionals from abroad.

Keywords: attitudes; foreigners; location choice; popular initiative; regression discontinuity design (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D83 J61 R23 Z13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019-01-21
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Related works:
Journal Article: The deterrent effect of an anti-minaret vote on foreigners’ location choices (2019) Downloads
Working Paper: The Deterrent Effect of an Anti-Minaret Vote on Foreigners’ Location Choices (2019) Downloads
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:bsl:wpaper:2018/28

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