Willing to Share the Burden? Attitudes Towards the Allocation of Asylum-Seekers in Comparative Perspective

Friday, July 14, 2017
Gilbert Scott Building - G466 (University of Glasgow)
Boris Heizmann , GESIS Cologne
Conrad Ziller , University of Cologne
Europe is faced with the enormous challenge of accomodating refugees from numerous countries around the world. The allocation of refugees between European countries remains severely skewed, with some countries having a larger per capita share of asylum applicants than others. Consequently, there are public debates in many countries on how to allocate the asylum seekers in order to tackle this imbalance. The present study aims at explaining cross-European differences in citizens’ preferences towards a more equalized distribution of refugees. Several theoretical arguments point to immigration patterns, asylum seeker intake, economic circumstances, and general immigrants’ legal status as explanatory mechanisms at the macro level. Preliminary analyses based on Eurobarometer data from 2015 suggest that structural factors play an important role for individual preferences: A high share of asylum seekers and a bad economic situation drive opposition to redistribute refugees between countries. Moreover, a high number of general immigration leads to a higher willingness to redistribute refugees even after accounting for asylum seekers. Apart from this, there is tentative evidence that the political treatment of immigrants in terms of integration policies is also connected with these preferences: the more restrictive and exclusionary a country’s political stance towards third-country nationals, the lower the respective inclination to pursue a better allocation of immigrants. At the individual level, both attitudes towards EU immigrants and attitudes towards the EU as such are strong predictors of opposition to redistribution. The question of redistributing refugees thus has both an immigration aspect and an EU integration aspect.
  • Heizmann_Ziller_CES_2017.pdf (490.7 kB)