Nativist Policy: The Comparative Effects of Trumpian Politics on Migration Decisions

Abstract

Firms in the U.S. rely on highly skilled immigrants, particularly in the science and engineering sectors. Yet the recent politics of immigration marks a substantial change to U.S. immigration policy. We implement a conjoint experiment that isolates the causal effect of nativist, anti-immigrant, pronouncements on where skilled potential-migrants choose to immigrate to. While these policies have a significantly negative effect on the destination choices of Chilean and U.K. student subjects, they have little effect on the choices of Indian and Chinese student subjects. These results are confirmed through an unobtrusive test of subjects’ general immigration destination preferences. Moreover, there is some evidence that the negative effect of these nativist policies are particularly salient for those who self-identify with the Left.

Publication
Conditional Acceptance at PSRM