Migration and the Welfare State: Examining the Effect of Immigration on Attitudes towards Economic Redistribution
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Is ethnic diversity associated with negative attitudes toward economic redistribution? To address this issue we employ a theoretical perspective to explain patterns in individual attitudes toward the welfare state. We suggest that there is a threshold effect when it comes to attitudes to economic redistribution. Our postulate is that up until a certain point more intergroup contact will lead to more positive, or leftist, attitudes to redistribution. However, when this threshold is reached, any further diversity will lead to decreased willingness to redistribution. We use data from the last four waves of the World Values Survey (WVS), combining the survey data from 30 OECD countries with country-level statistics. The models reveal a threshold effect, where people in lightly ethnically polarized societies are the most positive toward economic redistribution.