Real household income and attitude toward immigrants: an empirical analysis
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Previous studies have analyzed the (aggregate) effects of unemployment on attitudes towards immigrants and on right-wing crimes. In this paper, we investigate the effects of economic prosperity on attitudes towards immigrants, focusing not only on unemployment status but also on real household income. Using panel data from the German Socioeconomic Panel on around 33,000 individuals over the period 1992–2004 we find a robust negative relationship between real personal household income and self-declared concern about immigrants, both in levels and first differences. Both job loss and income reduction concerns about immigration. Our findings document an interesting interaction between economic variables and social attitudes which does not depend on economic growth per se but on its capacity to generate higher economic wellbeing at individual level, not only for unemployed people but also for those in employment, who may face a fall in real income during economic downturns.