Maria Pia Mendola (Università Milano Bicocca) (webinar)
4 November 2020 @ 12:00 - 13:15
“The Political Impact of Refugee Migration: Evidence from the Italian Dispersal Policy”
The ‘Refugee Crisis’ in Europe has created a public opinion backlash. Italy has been on the frontline of this crisis but little is known on its political impact on voting behavior and electoral outcomes. We collect unique administrative data on the refugee relocation system across Italian Municipalities during the crisis (2014-2018) to assess the causal effect of the inflow of asylum seekers on political support for radical-right anti-immigration parties and vote shares in Parliamentary elections. We exploit exogenous variation in refugee settlement induced by the Italian Dispersal Policy, set up in 2014 as to exceptionally enlarge national reception capacity. We find a positive and significant effect of the share of asylum seekers on right-wing-populist support. Yet, the effect is significantly heterogeneous across both municipality characteristics and dispersal policy features, while there is weak evidence it is driven by economic mechanisms.
Joint with Francesco Campo and Sara Giunti.