Lunchseminar in Economics : Political Backlash to Refugee Settlement
Lunchseminar in Economics : Political Backlash to Refugee Settlement - Cultural and Economic Drivers
The 2015 refugee crisis in Europe fueled anti-immigration sentiments in receiving areas, with potential unintended consequences for refugee integration. We investigate the heterogeneity of political backlash across Italian municipalities in the aftermath of the crisis and assess the role played by local conditions at the time of refugees’ settlement, distinguishing between economic and cultural factors, including social capital and intergroup interactions. By leveraging the quasi-random municipality assignment of refugees and using causal forests, we find that the impact of refugee exposure on anti-immigration backlash is significantly higher in more affluent areas, with more bonding social capital. The opposite holds in contexts where there is meaningful intergroup contact with former immigrants (e.g mixed marriages). We exploit this pattern of heterogeneity to evaluate optimal assignment reforms and deliver policy implications for counterfactual refugee resettlement schemes that minimise anti-immigration backlash.
About Mariapia Mendola
Mariapia Mendola is Professor of Economics at University of Milano Bicocca, Research Fellow at IZA and Director of the Poverty and Development Program at Centro Studi Luca d’Agliano in Milan. She serves as co-editor at the B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis and Policy. Her main research interests are in the fields of Development Economics, Household and Population Economics. Her recent research work is focused on migration, human capital, culture, diversity and networks. She has published in several international journals such as the Journal of European Economic Association, the Journal of Development Economics, Journal of Health Economics and Journal of Economic Geography
Register for the seminar- as of May 9, 2023