Citizenship regimes and the politicization of immigrant groups

It’s been in the making for a long time, but it’s out now: a paper on citizenship regimes and the politicization of immigrant groups (Austrian Journal of Political Sciences, 46(1), open access. In the paper, I use my recombined MIPEX data and relate them to the politicization of immigrant groups — data from the SOM project. The paper explores how immigrants and their integration are debated across citizenship regimes. There is a special focus on asylum seekers, refugees, and irregular immigrants. Having an ethnic citizenship regime (as a tendency) is associated with more claims about asylum seekers, refugees, and irregular immigrants. At the same time, the association between immigrant group size and the extent to which immigrant groups are politicized is moderated by the citizenship regime.

Call for Papers: Self-Interest and the Common Good in a World Defined by Migration and Minorities, SSA Conference, Zürich, 21–23 June

Call for papers for our workshop at the Swiss Sociological Association Conference in Zürich, 21–23 June 2017.

Please submit your 200 word abstracts by 19 February 2017 online. Working language of the workshop is English.

Societal and demographic changes have made apparent that our world is increasingly defined by migration calling into questions categories such as majority and minority and their relationships. One of the key challenge posed by migration is the tension between self-interest and the common good. Migrants are seen as threats to the social state, social cohesion, and public good, but also as a necessary labour force for the economy. This tension is paramount in the case of migrants who may not contribute directly to the economy. How can self-interest and social interests be reconciled in this case, and what are the implications for social cohesion?

With a focus on the challenges posed by migration on self-interest and the common good, we seek to address the following questions: What shape does diversity take and how is the diversification of society experienced in the everyday? What new conflicts arise because of diversity, and what kind of solutions can be developed? How can we define the nationhood, identity, belonging, and participation in nation-states in a context of increasing diversity? How can we form a political community, which reflects different views and belongings? What societal, political, economic and urban changes should be implemented to respond to the challenges raised by migration?

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):

  • tensions between justice, human rights and citizenship rights
  • reactions and attitudes to refugees and foreigners (including categorization)
  • forms of integration, 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
  • the role of self-interest and social norms in minority relations

mmSSA Research Network Migration–Minorities

What is individual representation?

Political representation is usually understood to be about groups: left-wing parties represent people with left-wing views (“substantive” representation), female MP represent women in the population (“descriptive” representation). When Matt Golder and Jacek Stramski examined ideological congruence, that’s what they did, too. They included a footnote to outline the possibility that individuals are represented by a parliament as a whole, but seemed to dismiss this perspective as irrelevant in practice — this was the same comment I got from an examiner once when still working on my doctorate. This did not discourage me to write up how to conceptualize and measure individual representation in 2012.

Let’s begin with the different representational relationships:


Here, Z’ is an individual citizen, and R’ and individual representative (parliamentarian). ZZ refers to citizens as a group, and RR to representatives as a group.This gives us:

    dyadic representation: how well does a single MP represent citizens, e.g. how well does the MP of a district represent the views of the citizens in this district?
    collective representation: how well do parliamentarians collectively represent citizens, e.g. how well are the views of the citizens in a country represented in their legislature?
    direct representation: how well does a single MP represent a single citizen, e.g. does the president of a country represent the views of this particular person?
    individual representation: how well do parliamentarians collectively represent a single citizen, e.g. how well are the views of this particular person represented by their legislature?

Individual representation is expressed as a score for each individual. Rather than combining views and looking at averages or distributions, we consider the position of an individual citizen. To keep the information of all citizens, we first compare the position of each citizens vis-à-vis the positions of the other citizens. This gives us a measure of “marginality”. The intuition is that individuals are aware of their position among citizens to some degree, and a person with far-left views will not expect to have his or her views represented in a legislature if everyone else is centre-right or far-right. Similarly, a person with centrist views will expect his or her views represented in a legislature when many other citizens have centrist views. This is the comparison at the top of the figure.


Once we have figured out how common or marginal each citizen’s position is in the population, we do a thought experiment, and look at how common or marginal each citizen’s position would be among the representatives. This is the comparison at the bottom of the figure.

We can then simply compare (=subtract) the marginality among citizens and the (imagined) marginality among representatives to derive an individual representation score. Normatively, we assume that smaller Euclidian distances are “better”. This is an important note, because we could also assume that an individual only cares about having “perfect” direct representation through one MP. When moving beyond single issues, I think most individuals will cease to have a “perfect” direct representative who shares their views on all dimensions exactly, and considerations of minimizing positional distance will play a role.

Why should we care about individual representation? Because individual representation allows us to examine different aspects of representation than the other perspectives. For instance, individual representation is very flexible for exploring how membership in different socio-demographic groups (“intersectionality”) affects substantive representation. We can readily compare the level of representation of old women with that of left-wing men (if this makes sense, of course), or test whether individuals who are better represented also feel better represented – rather than make the assumption.

Golder, M., and J. Stramski. 2010. “Ideological Congruence and Electoral Institutions.” American Journal of Political Science 54 (1): 90–106.

Ruedin, Didier. 2012. “Individual representation: A different approach to political representation.” Representation 48(1): 115–29. doi:10.1080/00344893.2012.653248

Polrep package for R to calculated individual representation scores:

MIPEX as a Measure of Citizenship Models: Small Update

I have just added an additional document to the replication material for MIPEX as a Measure of Citizenship Models. The paper in the SSQ uses MIPEX data up to 2010, but the MIPEX releases 2012+ use a slightly different question order because a few questions were added and removed. (It’s this updated version we’ve used for the time series of MIPEX/immigration policy in Switzerland 1848 to 2015.) With this, replicating my MIPEX-based measure of citizenship models was no longer straightforward with the more recent MIPEX releases. There’s one important point to consider, though: with the additional questions in the latest MIPEX data, it probably makes sense to include one or two additional (relevant) questions rather than slavishly following the items used in the SSQ paper.

Ruedin, Didier. 2015. “Increasing validity by recombining existing indices: MIPEX as a measure of citizenship models.” Social Science Quarterly 96(2): 629-638. doi:10.1111/ssqu.12162

Ruedin, Didier, Camilla Alberti, and Gianni D’Amato. 2015. “Immigration and integration policy in Switzerland, 1848 to 2014”, Swiss Political Science Review 21(1): 5-22. doi:10.1111/spsr.12144

MIPEX as Measure of Citizenship Models

MIPEX are currently launching their latest release (with a shiny new website), and their data are often used in academic research. Earlier I have shown that the MIPEX can indeed be used as scales — as it is often done –, although there is scope for improving these scales. Put differently, from a statistical point of view, the dimensions and sub-dimensions in the MIPEX data are not optimal. There are two approaches to this: First, we can reduce the data complexity by removing items that are not strongly associated. Second, we can use the redundancy in the data, and pick and mix the data.

In a paper just published in the SSQ, I demonstrate this by recombining bits and pieces of the MIPEX to create citizenship scores that closely match those in Koopmans et al. On the one hand, this is a demonstration that we can easily create more valid constructs when recombining existing data sources like the MIPEX. On the other hand, I have gained classifications of citizenship models in many more countries than previous endeavours — with less effort. As a side product, I can validate the citizenship typology presented by Koopmans et al. by showing the existence of ethnic-pluralistic citizenship models (segregationism), previously only predicted on a theoretical basis.

Koopmans, Ruud, Paul Statham, Marco Giugni, and Florence Passy. 2005. Contested Citizenship: Immigration and Cultural Diversity in Europe. Minneapolis: Minnesota University Press.
Ruedin, Didier. 2015. “Increasing Validity by Recombining Existing Indices: MIPEX as a Measure of Citizenship Models.” Social Science Quarterly. doi:10.1111/ssqu.12162.