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Anna Maria Mayda, Georgetown University Print
Tuesday, 16 February 2016, 14:00 - 15:15

Anna Maria Mayda, Georgetown University

Immigration to the U.S.: A Problem for the Republicans or the Democrats ? (2015)

Abstract: We empirically analyze the impact of immigration to the U.S. on the share of votes to the
Republicans and Democrats between 1994 and 2012. Our analysis is based on variation
across states and years – using data from the Current Population Survey merged with
election data – and addresses the endogeneity of immigrant flows using a novel set of
instruments. On average across election types, immigration to the U.S. has a significant and
negative impact on the Republican vote share, consistent with the typical view of political
analysts in the U.S. This average effect – which is driven by elections in the House – works
through two main channels. The impact of immigration on Republican votes in the House is
negative when the share of naturalized migrants in the voting population increases. Yet, it
can be positive when the share of non-citizen migrants out of the population goes up and the
size of migration makes it a salient policy issue in voters’ minds. These results are consistent
with naturalized migrants being less likely to vote for the Republican Party than native voters
and with native voters’ political preferences moving towards the Republican Party because of
high immigration of non-citizens. This second effect, however, is significant only for very high
levels of immigrant presence. 


Location: R42.2.113
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