Individual characteristics predicting anti-immigrant attitudes among Americans

Choi, Virginia ; Mandwee, Joseph ; Zhang, Yusang

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URN: urn:nbn:de:bsz:180-madoc-573668
Document Type: Working paper
Year of publication: 2020
Place of publication: Mannheim [u.a.]
Publication language: English
Institution: School of Social Sciences > Klinische u. Biologische Psychologie u. Psychotherapie (Alpers 2010-)
License: CC BY 4.0 Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)
Subject: 300 Social sciences, sociology, anthropology
Keywords (English): Anti-immigrant Attitudes ; Xenophobia ; Prejudice ; Racism ; Discrimination ; Social Dominance Orientation ; Authoritarianism ; Individual Characteristics
Abstract: Although social scientists do have a somewhat concrete understanding of prejudice and discrimination towards outsiders living within western societies, there is a much weaker and less developed body of literature examining what characteristics are associated with individuals who hold anti-immigrant or xenophobic attitudes, and very few pieces of research have attempted to assess personal, individual characteristics (i.e., values, beliefs, socioeconomic status, etc.…) that impact these attitudes. Nevertheless, there are some studies that point to Social Dominance Orientation (SDO) and authoritarianism in addressing anti-immigrant sentiments. Other research points to socioeconomic factors and political leanings as the influencers of these views. These findings are briefly summarized in the literature review below. The following study then attempts to provide further insights into personal characteristics that predict anti-immigrant attitudes among individuals in the United States, a western nation that is often noted by social scientists for its exceptional and historical openness to immigration and integration. To do so, this research will utilize information from the General Social Survey, which contains tens of thousands of points of data and hundreds of individual variables. We will run the gathered data through a machine learning model to find individual characteristics that meet our criteria in determining which ones play a role in predicting anti-immigrant attitudes. Lastly, we will convey our findings in the graphics and results section that follow and conclude with a brief discussion, limitations to our findings, and recommendations for further research.

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