Elisabeth Ivarsflaten (University of Bergen, Norway)
Asylum Seekers Centers in the Neighborhood: Causal Effects of Sudden Immigrant Influx on Exclusionary Attitudes
You can learn more about Professor Ivarsflaten by clicking here.
Where and When: Friday, March 15, 2019 from 3:00 to 5:00pm. Room 404, Thomson House, McGill University.
Abstract: During the 2015 refugee crisis, Europe experienced a sharp rise in asylum seeker numbers. Of the approximately 1 million people who reached Europe during 2015, 31 thousand individuals made their way to its northern periphery crossing the border into Norway. In the course of one year, the Norwegian government established 259 new asylum seekers’ centers throughout the country. The establishment of these centers generated a rare opportunity to examine the causal effects of a sudden immigrant influx on intergroup attitudes in local communities. We had measured exclusionary attitudes in a panel of respondents randomly recruited from the population registry in Norway multiple times prior to the refugee crisis and we continued to measure these attitudes during and after the crisis. Consistent with theoretical expectations, the results show a clear exclusionary reaction in the population generally. However, at the local level we discovered and now document a remarkable acceptance of the asylum centers among those who received one in their neighborhood compared to those who did not. Receiving the asylum centers in the neighborhood proved less disruptive than the local populations imagined beforehand and this led to substantial attitude change shortly after the establishment of the centers. However, the acceptance of the centers did not generalize to more positive general attitudes towards immigration at the national level.
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This series is sponsored by the Inter-university Centre for the Study of Democratic Citizenship, which is funded by the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Société et culture (FRQSC).