Degree Name

BS

Department

Economics

College

Family, Home, and Social Sciences

Publication Date

2019-06-30

First Faculty Advisor

Dr. Scott Bradford

Second Faculty Advisor

Dr. Wade Jacoby

First Faculty Reader

Dr. Joseph McMurray

Honors Coordinator

Dr. John Stovall

Keywords

immigration, welfare state, populism, France

Abstract

Immigration’s effect on European welfare states is complicated. On one hand, increased immigration might undermine social solidarity and impose greater fiscal burdens on redistribution, reducing support for welfare spending. On the other, natives could respond to greater globalization with economic anxiety, increasing support for redistribution in order to mitigate risk. Welfare chauvinism predicts a mixed effect—increased spending for programs that middle-class natives use and reduced spending for programs that benefit immigrants disproportionately. I test this theory by analyzing (1) European attitudes towards immigration and welfare spending and (2) actual spending on these programs, particularly social housing. Additionally, I present a brief case study of France’s immigration/welfare relationship. Despite large increases in immigration, I find no significant increase in welfare chauvinistic attitudes and no systematic relationship between immigration and social spending. This surprising result—which contradicts recent empirical findings—suggests that immigration-based fears about Western European welfare states are overstated.

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