Now in print: Attitudes to immigrants in South Africa: personality and vulnerability

I’m happy to announce that my article on attitudes to immigrants/foreigners in South Africa has finally made it into print. Most of the academic literature on the topics focuses on the Western world; here I show that the same mechanisms seem to apply more generally.

Part of the motivation for this article is quite topical at the moment: the common view in South Africa that we cannot discern patterns in who is more opposed to immigrants, and the view that South Africa is somehow an exceptional case. Another motivation was to test the validity of the work we do on Western countries.

Heerden, Sjoerdje van, and Didier Ruedin. 2019. ‘How Attitudes towards Immigrants Are Shaped by Residential Context: The Role of Neighbourhood Dynamics, Immigrant Visibility, and Areal Attachment’. Urban Studies 56 (2): 317–334. https://doi.org/10.1177/0042098017732692.
Pecoraro, Marco, and Didier Ruedin. 2016. ‘A Foreigner Who Does Not Steal My Job: The Role of Unemployment Risk and Values in Attitudes toward Equal Opportunities’. International Migration Review 50 (3): 628–66. https://doi.org/10.1111/imre.12162.
Pecoraro, Marco, and Didier Ruedin. 2019. ‘Occupational Exposure to Foreigners and Attitudes towards Equal Opportunities’. Migration Studies. https://doi.org/10.1093/migration/mnz006.
Ruedin, Didier. 2019. ‘Attitudes to Immigrants in South Africa: Personality and Vulnerability’. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 43 (7): 1108–26. https://doi.org/10.1080/1369183X.2018.1428086.

New paper on exposure in the job and attitudes to immigrants

I have the pleasure to announce our new paper on attitudes to foreigners. Marco and I wanted to move beyond the share of foreigners in geographically defined areas: We examined the share of foreigners in one’s job and how this is linked to attitudes. A key motivation for doing this was that many contributions on attitudes to immigrants seem to dismiss competitive threat in the labour market despite not providing a realistic test of such competition. Just think a moment: I’m not competing with (foreignany) workers in the construction sector, and I’m not competing with many of the highly educated immigrants workers either. We have segmented labour markets, and we should account for them in our analyses.

We find that a higher share of foreigners in one’s occupation correlates with more negative attitudes to immigrants. This suggests that workers react to competition with foreigners. When we dig deeper, we find that objective pressures in the labour market (we use the unemployment rate in each occupation) matter, just like contact with foreigners at work seem to alleviate negative attitudes. In fact, it turns out that sorting on job quality can probably account for these factors, especially objective pressures in the labour market.

Where does this leave us? It appears that workers react to immigrants at work in a differentiated manner. On the one hand, they dislike workers competing with them, on the other hand, they welcome them when they help overcome labour market shortages.

Pecoraro, Marco, and Didier Ruedin. 2019. “Occupational Exposure to Foreigners and Attitudes towards Equal Opportunities.” Migration Studies. https://doi.org/10.1093/migration/mnz006.

Skill Specificity and Attitudes toward Immigration

I am very happy to announce a second paper published from our SNIS project on attitudes to immigrants: “Skill Specificity and Attitudes toward Immigration” by Sergi Pardos-Prado and Carla Xena out now in AJPS. It develops some of the key tenets of the SNIS project to new levels and provides a clean application.

Similar to what Marco Pecoraro concluded when looking at the risk of unemployment, Sergi and Carla come to the conclusion that economic competition theories cannot be dismissed. Here they focus on skills specificity and the ability to avoid competition with immigrant workers, and highlight that highly educated people are not immune to anti-immigrant attitudes.

Pardos‐Prado, S., & Xena, C. (2018.). Skill Specificity and Attitudes toward Immigration. American Journal of Political Science, Online First. https://doi.org/10.1111/ajps.12406
Pecoraro, M., & Ruedin, D. (2016). A Foreigner Who Does Not Steal My Job: The Role of Unemployment Risk and Values in Attitudes toward Equal Opportunities. International Migration Review, 50(3), 628–666. https://doi.org/10.1111/imre.12162

Call for papers: The Future of Work for Migrants and Minorities

In the context of the research group on migration and minorities of the SSA, we’re launching a call for paper on “The Future of Work for Migrants and Minorities”.

SSA Conference, Neuchâtel, 10–12 September 2019

Labour remains one of the most important sources of income and status, defining who we are to ourselves and to others. As labour is changing, the social and political implications of these changes are unclear. Immigration is both a consequence and a reason of changes at the workplace. On the one hand, migrants are seen as necessary in order to limit the ageing of the population and to answer to the needs of the labour market calling for super qualified workers in certain economic niches but also to flexible and low wages workers easily replaceable. Yet, migrants can be seen as unwanted competitors and threats to local workers, and so doing to social cohesion.

With a focus on changes in the labour market, we seek to address the following questions: What role does immigration play in shaping the future of work? What is the role of refugees who often do not have the skills sought by the local economy? How do changes at work shape immigration patterns? How do changes at work affect immigrants and their descendants? What new conflicts arise because of changes at work, and what kind of solutions can be developed?

The research network migration—minorities seeks to organize panels that showcase current research on the topic. We welcome both theoretically and empirically informed papers on (but not limited to):

  • the role of immigration in shaping the future of work
  • reactions and attitudes to refugees and foreigners at the workplace
  • forms of integration in the labour market, embeddedness and belonging
  • challenges and impact of migration on the economy and social policy
  • challenges and impact of migration on social cohesion and urban organization

Please submit your 200 word abstracts by 5 January 2019 on http://neuchatel.eu.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_0xQfCpH64Q8oxsF

Working language of the workshop is English.

Call as PDF