Publication alert: "The Effect of Immigrant Integration Policies on Public Immigration Attitudes" by Michael Neureiter
Widespread anti-immigrant sentiments have been a persistent problem in several European countries. As a result, scholars and policymakers alike have been searching for ways to combat such sentiments. Previous research on the topic has overwhelmingly looked at individual characteristics such as education and their role in the formation of attitudes toward immigration. In his article “The Effect of Immigrant Integration Policies on Public Immigration Attitudes: Evidence from a Survey Experiment in the United Kingdom”, Michael Neureiter looks beyond such individual characteristics by arguing that structural factors, particularly national policy environments, are an important driver of public immigration attitudes. More specifically, the article argues that certain policies designed to integrate migrants, such as mandatory language and civic education courses and tests, can improve public immigration attitudes by mitigating (mis)perceptions of immigrants as a threat to one’s culture or economic status. Using evidence from an original survey experiment administered to a representative sample of more than 7000 British adults, the author finds support for his argument, as respondents who are told that prospective immigrants will be required to participate in language courses and the like become more supportive of admitting said immigrants. These findings have important policy implications: Given that most European countries currently have at least some mandatory integration requirements in place yet public awareness about them is low, spreading information awareness about these policies represents an opportunity to improve public immigration attitudes.