Abstract. Past research suggests that citizens' attitudes toward immigration are driven by perceptions of immigrants' (a) economic status and (b) ethnicity. In this study, we use an online survey conducted with a representative sample of Canadians to test to what extent economic and cultural cues influence support for individual immigrants. In particular, by drawing on a parallel US survey, we explore whether Canadians' relatively unique (positive) attitudes toward immigration make them more immune to economic and cultural threat manipulations than their American counterparts. The analysis is based on an experimental design embedded in a series of immigrant vignettes that vary the ethnoracial background and social status of an individual applying for immigration. We examine overall support for immigration, as well as the extent to which both ethnic and economic status cues affect support for individual immigrants. We also explore variance within Canada, specifically, in Quebec versus the rest of the country. Results offer new and unique information on the structure of attitudes on diversity and immigration in Canada. Most importantly, they suggest the relative importance of economic cues in support for immigration in both countries.Résumé. Divers travaux de recherche ont suggéré que les attitudes des citoyens au sujet de l'immigration sont influencées par leur perception (a) du statut économique et (b) de l'ethnie des immigrants. Afin de tenter de savoir jusqu'à quel point les informations socioéconomiques et culturelles ont effectivement un impact sur le soutien des citoyens envers les immigrants, la présente étude fait usage d'un sondage mené en ligne avec un échantillon représentatif de la population canadienne. En nous appuyant sur un sondage américain similaire, nous cherchons plus précisément à savoir si l'attitude (positive) relativement unique des Canadiens vis-à-vis de l'immigration les rend moins susceptibles d'être manipulés par l'évocation de menaces économiques et culturelles que leurs voisins américains. Notre analyse se fonde sur une expérience utilisant une série de vignettes qui modifient les caractéristiques ethnoraciales ainsi que le statut social d'un individu procédant à une demande d'immigration. Nous examinons non seulement le soutien pour l'immigration en général, mais aussi la mesure dans laquelle les informations relatives à l'ethnie et au statut économique d'un immigrant affectent le soutien que les citoyens lui offrent. Nous étudions aussi la variance à l'intérieur du Canada, plus spécifiquement entre le Québec et le reste du pays. Les résultats ainsi obtenus fournissent de l'information nouvelle et unique ayant trait à la structure des attitudes par rapport à la diversité et l'immigration au Canada. De surcroît, ces résultats suggèrent le rôle relativement important que jouent les informations d'ordre socioéconomique dans le soutien de l'immigration tant aux États-Unis qu'au Canada.
Employing a comparative experimental design drawing on over 18,000 interviews across eleven countries on four continents, this article revisits the discussion about the economic and cultural drivers of attitudes towards immigrants in advanced democracies. Experiments manipulate the occupational status, skin tone and national origin of immigrants in short vignettes. The results are most consistent with a Sociotropic Economic Threat thesis: In all countries, higher-skilled immigrants are preferred to their lower-skilled counterparts at all levels of native socio-economic status (SES). There is little support for the Labor Market Competition hypothesis, since respondents are not more opposed to immigrants in their own SES stratum. While skin tone itself has little effect in any country, immigrants from Muslim-majority countries do elicit significantly lower levels of support, and racial animus remains a powerful force.The explosive rise in immigration worldwide over the last two decades has led to significant changes in the demographic composition of many developed countries. The political consequences of these shifts are profound, including the formation and electoral success of anti-immigrant parties in Western Europe, the passage of the UK's referendum to leave the European Union, and now President Trump's drive to dramatically tighten US immigration policy after his election in 2016. Debates about threats posed by immigrants have become a regular feature of election campaigns, and were especially prominent in the 2016 US and 2017 Dutch elections. Then, as for many years before, political rhetoric about the issue was rife with cues highlighting both cultural differences between natives and newcomers, and the potentially negative economic consequences of increasing immigration. The causal antecedents of mass opinion about immigration have received some careful attention, but comprehensive, comparative analyses are still rare, and most such attempts are survey-based correlational studies rather than experiments that can isolate specific causal mechanisms. One core debate focuses on the economic versus ethno-cultural drivers of opposition to new immigrants in advanced industrial nations. In this article, we present results from the largest systematic, cross-national and controlled experimental study of these explanations to date.
This article builds on the insights of the contact hypothesis and political socialization literatures to go beyond recent findings that racial and ethnic diversity have overwhelmingly negative effects on social capital, particularly generalized trust. Using the Canadian General Social Survey (2003), our results show that despite a negative relationship among adults, younger Canadians with racial and ethnic diversity in their social networks show higher levels of generalized trust. The results seem to confirm that youth socialization experiences with rising diversity and the normalization of diversity in a multicultural environment contribute to beneficial (instead of detrimental) effects of diverse social networks.
Past work suggests that support for welfare in the United States is heavily influenced by citizens' racial attitudes. Indeed, the idea that many Americans think of welfare recipients as poor Blacks (and especially as poor Black women) has been a common explanation for Americans’ lukewarm support for redistribution. This article draws on a new online survey experiment conducted with national samples in the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada, designed to extend research on how racialised portrayals of policy beneficiaries affect attitudes toward redistribution. A series of innovative survey vignettes has been designed that experimentally manipulate the ethno‐racial background of beneficiaries for various redistributive programmes. The findings provide, for the first time, cross‐national, cross‐domain and cross‐ethno‐racial extensions of the American literature on the impact of racial cues on support for redistributive policy. The results also demonstrate that race clearly matters for policy support, although its impact varies by context and by the racial group under consideration.
Previous research has indicated that opposition toward LGBT rights remains prevalent among Western populations. In this article we investigate the determinants of antigay attitudes among adolescents in two liberal democracies, Belgium (n=6,330) and Canada (n=3,334). The analysis indicates that hostile feelings toward LGBT rights are particularly widespread among boys, while the effects of socio-economic status and parental education remain limited. Various religious denominations proved to have a strong and significant negative impact on tolerance, with especially high scores for Islam. Religious practice, too, contributes to a negative attitude toward LGBT rights. The consequences of these findings with regard to tolerance for gay rights among Islamic youth in Western democracies are discussed.
Abstract.In recent years, there has been increasing popular and academic debate about how ethnic and racial diversity affects democratic politics and social cohesion in industrialized liberal democracies. In this introduction, different interdisciplinary theoretical approaches for understanding the role of diversity for intergroup relations and social cohesion are reviewed and four extensions to the current literature are proposed. These include taking advantage of a comparative framework to understand how generalizable the consequences of diversity are. A comparative country approach also helps to reveal which policies might be able to mitigate any potential negative consequences of diversity. Most importantly, we propose that the research in this area should include other aspects of social cohesion beyond measures of generalized trust, such as solidarity, attitudes about the welfare state and redistributive justice, as well as political and social tolerance. Finally, research on the effects of diversity might gain more insights from taking less of a majority-centric approach to include the effects on various minority groups as well.Résumé.Ces dernières années ont procuré un sol fertile au débat populaire et universitaire autour des effets de la diversité ethnique et raciale sur la politique démocratique et sur la cohésion sociale dans les démocraties libérales industrialisées. Dans cette introduction, nous passons en revue diverses approches théoriques interdisciplinaires permettant de clarifier le rôle de la diversité dans les relations entre les groupes et dans la cohésion sociale et nous proposons quatre ajouts à la littérature courante. Nous suggérons, entre autres, de tirer profit d'un cadre comparatif pour comprendre à quel point les conséquences de la diversité sont généralisables. Une étude comparative des pays aide également à cerner les politiques qui pourraient atténuer les conséquences négatives potentielles de la diversité. Par-dessus tout, nous avançons que la recherche dans ce domaine devrait inclure d'autres aspects de la cohésion sociale à part les mesures de la confiance généralisée, des aspects tels que la solidarité, les attitudes envers l'État-providence et la justice redistributive, ainsi que la tolérance politique et sociale. Finalement, la recherche sur les effets de la diversité pourrait devenir plus instructive en adoptant une approche moins centrée sur la majorité afin d'inclure également les effets sur divers groupes minoritaires.
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