We examine whether labor market concerns causally affect people’s support for immigration. Using a large, representative sample of the US population, we first elicit beliefs about the labor market impact of immigration. To generate exogenous variation in beliefs, we then provide respondents in the treatment group with research evidence showing no adverse labor market impacts of immigration. We find that treated respondents update their beliefs about the labor market impact of immigration and become more supportive of immigration, as measured by self-reported policy views and signatures on real online petitions. We also employ an obfuscated follow-up study which hides the connection between the follow-up and the main study. The treatment effects persist in this setting where experimenter demand is mitigated. Our results demonstrate that beliefs about the labor market impact of immigration are an important causal driver of people’s support for immigration.
Chris Roth is a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute on Behavior and Inequality. Before, he studied economics at the University of Oxford and the University of Warwick. His fields of specialization are economics & psychology, applied microeconometrics, and political economy. He is especially interested in the role of subjective beliefs in shaping economic and political behavior. Chris’ work has examined a variety of topics, such as attitudes towards immigration, beliefs about racial discrimination, experimenter demand effects, the formation of macroeconomic expectations, and the determinants of political engagement. Methodologically, his work relies on online experiments, natural field experiments and laboratory experiments.