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“Hostility to immigrants and social competition” are correlated

Beliefs about the future of her own economic situation influence as much, if not more, the opinion on immigration as her real economic situation, making it switch to the extreme right, explains in his column the journalist of the “World” Antoine Reverchon.

 “Recent research puts back into the saddle that some voters can vote for the far right to defend their material interests” (Ship in distress with eleven people on board off Libya, rescue of Aquarius, 20 September).

Research. Faced with the rise of hostility against migrants, economists have shown that the arguments put forward by far-right parties to attract voters – “immigrants take your jobs and social assistance” – do not hold the road As migrants are less skilled, more active and younger than the whole “indigenous” population, they contribute to the increase in the qualification (and thus income) of the latter and are “net contributors” to social systems.

Political scientists and sociologists have therefore become accustomed to looking for the causes of far-right voting in the field of culture and “values” (identity, religion) more than in the socio-economic sphere. The nationalist parties have followed them in this direction …

But now more recent research puts back into the saddle the idea that some voters can vote for the far right to defend their material interests.

The Austrian example

Charlotte Cavaillé (University of Georgetown, Washington) and Jeremy Ferwerda (Dartmouth College, New Hampshire) took the opportunity of transposing Austrian law in 2000 to a 2000 European directive on “racial equality” , imposing the equal access of resident foreigners to social programs, to see how far-right voting had evolved between the 2002 and 2006 legislative elections in neighborhoods where, on the one hand, social housing is and the number of immigrants had risen sharply (“How Distributional Conflict Over Public Spending Drives Support for Anti-Immigrant Parties”, forthcoming).

They discovered that these evolutions were indeed correlated. The progress of the extreme right is even stronger (up to 50% or 60%, against 3.9% on national average) in neighborhoods where the housing market is …


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