The legacy of state socialism on attitudes toward immigration

Lange, Martin

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URN: urn:nbn:de:bsz:180-madoc-609418
Document Type: Working paper
Year of publication: 2021
The title of a journal, publication series: ZEW Discussion Papers
Volume: 21-070
Place of publication: Mannheim
Publication language: English
Institution: Sonstige Einrichtungen > ZEW - Leibniz-Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung
MADOC publication series: Veröffentlichungen des ZEW (Leibniz-Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung) > ZEW Discussion Papers
Subject: 330 Economics
Classification: JEL: P20 , P51 , N34 , Z10,
Keywords (English): state socialism , attitudes toward immigration , German division and reunification
Abstract: Does the politico-economic system affect preferences for immigration? In this study, I show that individuals exposed to life under state socialism have formed and persistently hold different attitudes toward immigration. By exploiting the division and reunification of Germany, I estimate the influence of state socialism on attitudes toward immigration. Drawing on rich individual panel data, I find that East Germans who lived under state socialism, are 15 percent more likely to oppose immigration than West Germans who spent their entire life in a democratic, capitalist country. This difference in attitudes toward immigration is persistent over time and across space, and largest for cohorts born and raised under state socialism. This gap in attitudes can be traced back to a longer-term deterioration in trust. Evidence from members of a group that opposed the authoritarian system highlights the importance of state socialist ideology for attitude formation.

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