A colleague recently commented that he is confused where I stand with regard to the academic use of MIPEX data. Apparently I have been rather critical and quite enthusiastic about it. I guess this sums it up quite well. I’ve always been critical of the (historical) lack of a theoretical base for the indicators used, and the often uncritical use of the aggregate scores as indicators of ‘immigration policy’ in the literature. I’m enthusiastic about its coverage (compared to other indices), the effort to keep it up-to-date, and the availability of the detailed data.

A few years back, I verified that it is OK to use the MIPEX as a scale (as is often done), highlighting redundancy in the items and that such scales could be improved:

In the context of the SOM project, we have demonstrated that it is feasible to expand the MIPEX indicators back in time. We did so for 7 countries back to 1995. I refined these data by using the qualitative descriptions provided to identify the year of the change, giving year-on-year changes since 1995 for the 7 SOM countries. These data are experimental in that they rely on the documentation and not original research. If that’s not enough, Camilla and I have then created a complete time series of the MIPEX indicators in Switzerland since 1848. This showed that we definitely can go back in time, but also that quite a few of the things MIPEX measures were not regulated a century ago.

Even with the short time in the SOM data, these data are quite insightful:

Later I provided a different approach: re-assembling! The idea is generic and does not apply to the MIPEX alone: make use of the many indicators in the database, but use your own theory to pick and choose the ones you consider most appropriate (rather than be constrained by the presentation in the MIPEX publications). I have demonstrated that the MIPEX data can be used to closely approximate the Koopmans et al. data, but immediately cover a wider range of countries and observe changes over time. Now we can have theory and coverage!

And yes, we can apply these data to gain new insights, like the nature of the politicization of immigrant groups:

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.

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

JEMS Special Issue: The public and the politics of immigration controls

jemsThe JEMS special issue “The public and the politics of immigration controls” is now available. The contributions to the special issue question the received wisdom that the public in Europe and the United States have negative attitudes towards immigration, and that governments necessarily react to these attitudes by introducing stricter immigration policies.

The special issue in JEMS covers the US, UK, and the Netherlands, as well as a comparative study by Laura Morales, Jean-Benoit Pilet et myself. We use data from the SOM project and MIPEX to examine the opinion-policy gap in seven countries, 1995 to 2010.

Strength of Anti-Immigrant Parties Unrelated to Opinion–Policy Gap

Our paper in JEMS on the opinion-policy gap is now out. We examine the gap between public opinion on immigration and policies, combining public opinion data with data from the SOM project and MIPEX. Contrary to what is commonly assumed, our analysis over time suggests that the strength of anti-immigrant parties is not associated with the opinion–policy gap on immigration. Instead, it seems that the salience of immigration and the intensity of the public debate are. When negative attitudes are combined with extensive media coverage policy congruence on immigration seems more likely.

Morales, Laura, Jean-Benoit Pilet, and Didier Ruedin. 2015. “Does the Politicization of Immigration Increase Congruence between Public Attitudes towards Immigration and Immigration Policies?” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 41(9):1495-1516.