The Politicization of Immigration in Portugal between 1995 and 2014: A European Exception?

Out now, an extension of the SOM project to Portugal.

Notwithstanding the doubling of the foreign population settled in the country in the early 2000s, the diminished salience and the absence of significant political conflict suggest that immigration failed to become politicized in Portugal.

Happy to see this published, and excellent to see my figures in print so that we can directly compare the results for Portugal with the other seven countries in the original SOM project and the SOM book.

Carvalho, João, and Mariana Carmo Duarte. 2020. ‘The Politicization of Immigration in Portugal between 1995 and 2014: A European Exception?’ JCMS: Journal of Common Market Studies.
Van der Brug, Wouter, Gianni D’Amato, Joost Berkhout, and Didier Ruedin, eds. 2015. The Politicisation of Migration. Abingdon: Routledge.

Guest Blog at Media Portrayals of Minorities Project

I am happy to announce a guest blog of mine over at the Media Portrayals of Minorities Project.

The blog post draws heavily on the SOM book and my paper in the Austrian Journal of Political Science. If that’s all old news, you should just check out the other posts from the project! If you’re interested in the role of left-wing parties in politicizing immigration, we’ve got you covered, too.

Carvalho, João, and Didier Ruedin. 2018. ‘The Positions Mainstream Left Parties Adopt on Immigration: A Crosscutting Cleavage?’ Party Politics.
Ruedin, Didier. 2017. ‘Citizenship Regimes and the Politicization of Immigrant Groups’. Austrian Journal of Political Sciences 46 (1): 7–19.
Van der Brug, Wouter, Gianni D’Amato, Joost Berkhout, and Didier Ruedin, eds. 2015. The Politicisation of Migration. Abingdon: Routledge.

Who is an author?

This comes up in discussions from time to time, but guess what you’re not the first to wonder. Here are the guidelines we used in the SOM project. Our IP policies had the following section:

Who is an Author?
When writing and publishing a piece, every individual mentioned as a co-author is co-responsible: all authors are fully responsible for the contents and stand behind the contents. They should be able to defend the paper as a whole (not necessarily technical details). Only the following can be named authors:

    individuals who have contributed substantially to the specific question and the research plan (conception and design of research)
    individuals who carried out the research (data processing, data analysis)
    individuals who substantially contributed to the interpretation of results
    individuals who drafted the manuscript (including drafting substantial sections, such as a literature review, or a results section)
    individuals who critically reviewed the manuscript, leading to substantive changes

The following are not named as authors:

    individuals who were only involved in data collection
    individuals who provided or secured funding
    individuals who just read the manuscript
    honorary authorship

Multiple Authors
Where there are multiple authors, authors are listed by relative contribution (Lake 2010). In addition, authors are encouraged to include a short statement (e.g. as footnote or at the end of the article) indicating the division of labour between the co-authors. Such a statement should also be included where the contributions are equal. Authorship and other credits are included in early drafts of papers to help resolve any future disputes.

For articles based on the thesis or dissertation of a student, students should normally be the first author.

If no clear differences can be determined, authors are listed in alphabetical order.

We even had the following: “Where authors cannot agree on who made the most significant contribution or other aspects of authorship, disputes are referred to the managing board minus involved parties. The board considers the main contribution of the paper to the literature to determine which contributions are considered more significant. If the dispute cannot be resolved by the managing board, the managing board will appoint a neutral third party.” — but this was never needed.

D. Lake, “Who’s on first? Listing authors by relative contribution trumps the alphabet,” PS: Political Science & Politics 43, no. 1 (2010): 43-47.

The entire section was introduced with the following footnote: “This section is based on J. Reemtsma, “Regeln zur Sicherung guter wissenschaftlicher Praxis am Hamburger Institut für Sozialforschung” (Hamburger Institut für Sozialforschung, 2009); and BSA, “Authorship Guidelines,” The British Sociological Association, 2001,”

New paper: how left-wing parties politicize immigration

I’m happy to announce another paper coming out of the SOM (Support and Opposition to Migration) kitchen. João Carvalho and I have examined the way left-wing parties politicize immigration in 7 Western European countries. Most of the literature focuses on the right, and especially the extreme right. The same changes that supposedly enable the success of the extreme right also affect parties on the left. We often see the claim that immigration has become a political dimension that cuts across (economic) left and right.

We use the political claims analysis from the SOM project (7 countries, 1995 to 2009) to examine the salience, position and overall coherence of claims mainstream parties make on immigration. We distinguish between immigration control (not letting in immigrants) and immigrant integration (how to deal with those already here). Left-wing parties come with more positive/expansive positions on immigration. Drawing on the claims analysis, we find no evidence that immigration would be a cross-cutting cleavage in the 7 countries examined. We also find that left-wing parties exhibit higher levels of coherence than centrist and right-wing parties, suggesting that they use old-fashioned left-wing ideology to deal with the potential cross-pressures around immigration.

(I’ve never hidden my regression models so well than in this paper. Table junkies find them in the online supplement.)

In a lucky coincidence, I have come across a paper by Tarik Abou-Chadi and Werner Krause taking a quite different approach to the same topic. They use differences in electoral threshold and treat those as exogenous shocks to make causal claims about how the success of the extreme right affects the party positions of other parties. You don’t need to buy into the causal claims to be excited about this analysis!

Abou-Chadi, Tarik, and Werner Krause. 2018. ‘The Causal Effect of Radical Right Success on Mainstream Parties’ Policy Positions: A Regression Discontinuity Approach’. British Journal of Political Science, June, 1–19.

Carvalho, João, and Didier Ruedin. 2018. ‘The Positions Mainstream Left Parties Adopt on Immigration: A Crosscutting Cleavage?’ Party Politics.


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: