Nativist policy: the comparative effects of Trumpian politics on migration decisions


Firms in the USA rely on highly skilled immigrants, particularly in the science and engineering sectors. Yet, the recent politics of immigration marks a substantial change to US 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 UK 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.

Political Science Research and Methods