April 2009

IZA DP No. 4109: Hostility Toward Immigration in Spain

Ferran Martínez i Coma, Robert Duval Hernández

published in: Jorge Durand and Jorge A. Schiavon (eds.), Perspectivas migratorias: Un análisis interdisciplinario de la migración internacional, Mexico: CIDE, 2010.

This paper provides new evidence regarding public opinion on immigration by studying the Spanish case, and by analyzing not only respondents' preferences regarding immigration levels, but also regarding admittance policies and the rights and benefits to grant to foreigners. In general, Spaniards support less immigration, and more selectivity based on skills and qualifications, but not reduced rights and benefits for immigrants. Skilled natives have more positive attitudes about immigration, in spite of the potential fiscal burden it implies for them. Respondents believing that immigration drops natives' wages tended to oppose immigration and endorse reducing the benefits and rights granted to immigrants. More negative attitudes were found among individuals who dislike other races, while the opposite was found for those valuing cultural diversity. Catholic respondents favor more restrictive admission policies, in particular ones based on cultural factors. Respondents in provinces with high immigration and a high proportion of Moroccans wanted lower levels of immigration, though having contact with immigrants reduces the negative attitudes toward them. Individuals overestimating the levels of immigration are more prone to have negative attitudes toward immigrants.