MIPEX in Switzerland: Some Clarifications

The Sonntags Zeitung was kind enough to comment on the recent release of MIPEX data in Switzerland. Unfortunately they seem more interested in the ranking than the details. The summary is roughly correct: it speaks of the immigrant integration policy framework.

The basic argument in the newspaper is logically incoherent, though: an index that places Switzerland behind France cannot be right, because France is struggling with integrating its immigrants (while there are no open conflicts in Switzerland). The editorial asks a series of questions about actual integration (“do we manage to integrate the many immigrants that arrive?”), not the policy framework. It refers to the high levels of youth unemployment among immigrants in France, but fails to connect this number to the youth unemployment in France more generally. Unemployment levels are generally much lower in Switzerland, but even this is beyond the point as it looks at outcomes and not the policy framework — this is what MIPEX does. Once immigrant policies and outcomes are conflated, it is easy to say that “there’s something wrong with these integration indicators” — well, that’s not what they are.

The main article provides a (factual) list of the main results and the positions of the MPG which are regarded rather critically. It would have been nice to distinguish between the indicators and the interpretations thereof (the ranking, “too restrictive”, “too many hurdles”), but to be fair, the way the MIPEX is usually presented this distinction is often blurred.

Media Quality and Claims-Making about Immigration

When we present results from the SOM project on the politicization of immigration, we often get comments that media quality will have a big impact on our results. The intuition is that high-quality (broadsheet) outlets cover the debate in a fundamentally different way than low-quality (tabloid) newspapers.

In anticipation of potential differences, we sampled newspaper articles from both broadsheet and tabloid papers. In most instances we find very little difference, apparently in line with Koopmans, but judge yourself:

Here’s the topic of the claim, divided into immigration and integration:

ISSUE Broadsheet Tabloid
Immigration 49.8% 48.0%
Integration 50.2% 52.0%

Here is the justification of the claim (“frame”):

FRAME Broadsheet Tabloid
Instrumental 56.2% 62.1%
Identity 11.8% 14.4%
Moral principles 32.0% 23.5%

And here the so-called object actor (who would be affected by the claim?):

OBJECTACT Broadsheet Tabloid
Unspecified 1.7% 2.7%
Organized 9.5% 10.8%
Migration-related groups in society 86.5% 82.2%
Other groups in society 2.3% 4.3%