Several recent accounts have shown that anti-immigrant feeling among citizens seems to reduce the support for the welfare state. As a consequence, the rise of immigration could produce a deep change in industrialized countries’ social security systems. This paper provides evidence that support for redistribution is not decreased by generic xenophobia, but by a specific kind of xenophobic belief. It also shows that some other xenophobic beliefs tend rather to produce a demand for governmental protection programs. Based on a multivariate analysis on individual and contextual French data, findings show that the support for social protection programs is positively related to the fear of competition from immigrants and negatively with the fear that immigrants strain the welfare state. This result can be generalized to other countries where “redistributive xenophobia” is much more widespread.
Habyarimana, J., Humphreys, M., Posner, D. D., & Weinstein, J. M. (2007). Why does ethnic diversity undermine public goods provision. American Political Science Review, 101, 709-725.
Senik, C., Stichnoth, H., & Van der Straeten, K. (2009). Immigration and natives’ attitudes towards the welfare state: Evidence from the European social survey. Social Indicators Research, 91, 345-370.
Soroka, S., Banting, K., & Johnston, R. (2006). Immigration and redistribution in a global era. In S. Bowles, P. Bardhan, & M. Wallerstein (Eds.), Globalization and egalitarian redistribution (pp. 261-288). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.