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Does Migration Cause Extreme Voting?

Sascha Becker and Thiemo Fetzer

CAGE Online Working Paper Series from Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE)

Abstract: The 2004 accession of 8 Eastern European countries (plus Cyprus and Malta) to the European Union (EU) was overshadowed by feared mass migration of workers from the East due to the EU’s rules on free mobility of labour. While many incumbent EU countries imposed temporary restrictions on labour mobility, the United Kingdom did not impose any such restrictions. We document that following accession at least 1 million people (ca. 3% of the UK working age population) migrated from Eastern Europe to the UK. Places that received large numbers of migrants from Eastern Europe saw a significant increase in anti-European sentiment after 2004, measured by vote shares for the UK Independence Party (UKIP) in elections to the European Parliament. We argue that these estimates are likely lower bounds of the effect of migration on overall anti-European sentiment. We show that the migration wave lowered wages at the bottom end of the wage distribution and contributed to increased pressure on public services and housing.

Keywords: Political Economy; Migration; Globalization; Voting; EU JEL Classification: R23; D72; N44; Z13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2016
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-int, nep-mig, nep-pol, nep-soc and nep-ure
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
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