New Publication: Do We Need Multiple Questions to Capture Feeling Threatened by Immigrants?

I’m happy to announce a new publication in ECPR’s open access Political Research Exchange (PRX).

In the article, I ask whether we need multiple questions to capture feeling threatened by immigrants. The answer is: it depends what you want to achieve. In many cases, the answers is ‘no’ — a single question or scale is enough to capture who is more opposed to immigrants. In other cases, however, we need the subtle differences in attitudes to different groups and thus ‘yes’ — multiple questions.

I use 24 different questions on potential neighbours to systematically vary the characteristics of immigrants in a representative survey in Switzerland, 2013. Respondents systematically consider immigrants from distant cultures and those more likely to receive welfare benefits as more threatening. At the same time, those who feel threatened by one kind of immigrants also tend to feel threatened by others. Questions about immigrants in the generic sense likely capture the right correlates, but they may miss differences in the level of threat evoked by different immigrants.

In some ways, this is a follow-up to my article in JEMS where I applied theories on attitudes to immigrants developed in Western countries to a non-Western country: South Africa. There I showed that research on attitudes to immigrants appears to generalize to non-Western contexts. These are validity checks for our theories, testing what we typically assume.

The article in PRX is open access and comes with open code (a.k.a. replication material) and open data.

Ruedin, Didier. 2020. ‘Do We Need Multiple Questions to Capture Feeling Threatened by Immigrants?’ Political Research Exchange 2 (1): 1758576.
Ruedin, Didier. 2019. ‘Attitudes to Immigrants in South Africa: Personality and Vulnerability’. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 45 (7): 1108–26.

Open Badges

Open badges to acknowledge open science, now uploaded to OSF:

  • pre-registered:
  • open data:
  • open materials:
  • open code:
  • open access:
  • green access:
  • closed access:

The badges were inspired by:

and drawn in LibreOffice: source file on OSF

Take your pick for the licence: (1) Creative Commons CC BY 4.0, (2) To the extent possible under law, I have waived all copyright and related or neighboring rights to these images. CC-0

Call for Papers — Decision-Making under Uncertainty: African Migrants in the Spotlight

In the context of the Swiss-Subsaharan African Migration Network (S-SAM), we’re now looking for paper contributions for a thematic issue at the open access journal Social Inclusion. Feel free to contact me for information.

Submission of Abstracts: 1-15 May 2020
Submission of Full Papers: 15-30 September 2020
Publication of the Issue: March 2021

Information: The objective of this thematic issue is to better understand how migrants decide whether to migrate and where to migrate to by considering the limited information available to them. Existing work is informed by two distinct literatures. Migration studies developed two-step models distinguishing ambitions to migrate from the capability to migrate, while contributions in economics and psychology have sharpened our understanding that we often make decisions without perfect information.

Without communication between literatures, however, we do not understand well why immigrants try to reach countries in the Global North despite seemingly impossible odds. The articles should use mostly qualitative and mixed methods to study migration decisions in countries of origin and transit, to better understand how imperfect and contradictory information affects decisions. They highlight the role of narratives and expectations, and how human biases and bounded rationality matter for ambitions to migrate, and what migrants do to maximize the capability to migrate.

Articles will focus on the initial decision to leave countries of origin—why individuals take considerable risks and often take on debt in their endeavour to reach countries in the Global North, risks that seem disproportional to the likely gains, as most immigrants never reach their destination, and many are unable to fulfil their expectations. Articles will also focus on what happens during the journey where formal and informal migration may be mixed. They explore how different narratives influence the migration journey as individuals learn more about the risks and likely outcomes. Articles focusing on student migrants in particular, a migration channel experiencing a recent surge without much attention in academia, are especially welcome. With the increasingly difficult routes across the Mediterranean, some individuals formally sign up for studies in countries such as Northern Cyprus as an intermediate destination.

Instructions for Authors: Authors interested in submitting a paper for this issue are asked to consult the journal’s instructions for authors and send their abstracts in a Word file (about 250 words, with a tentative title and reference to the thematic issue) by email to the Editorial Office ( When submitting their abstracts, authors are also asked to confirm that they are aware that Social Inclusion is an open access journal with a publishing fee if the article is accepted for publication after peer-review (corresponding authors affiliated with our institutional members do not incur this fee).

Open Access:  The journal has an article publication fee to cover its costs and guarantee that the article can be accessed free of charge by any reader, anywhere in the world, regardless of affiliation. We defend that authors should not have to personally pay this fee and advise them to check with their institutions if funds are available to cover open access publication fees. Institutions can also join Cogitatio’s Membership Program at a very affordable rate and enable all affiliated authors to publish without incurring any fees. Further information about the journal’s open access charges and institutional members can be found here.