The Refugee Crisis and Right-Wing Populism: Evidence from the Italian Dispersal Policy
(with Francesco Campo and Sara Giunti)
Zoom link: https://zoom.us/j/94528901847
This paper examines how the 2014-2017 ‘refugee crisis’ in Italy affected voting behavior and the rise of right–wing populism in national Parliamentary elections. We collect unique administrative data and leverage exogenous variation in refugee resettlement across Italian municipalities induced by the Dispersal Policy. We find a positive and significant effect of the administrative data and leverage exogenous variation in refugee resettlement across Italian municipalities induced by the Dispersal Policy. We find a positive and significant effect of the share of asylum seekers on support for radical-right anti-immigration parties. The effect is heterogeneous across municipality characteristics, yet robust to dispersal policy features. We provide causal evidence that the anti–immigration backlash is not rooted in adverse economic effects, while it is triggered by radical–right propaganda.
Mariapia Mendola is Professor of Economics at University of Milano Bicocca and Director of the Poverty and Development Program at Centro Studi Luca d’Agliano in Turin. She is Research Fellow at IZA and member of the Scientific Committee of the Center for European Studies in Milan. Mariapia serves as co-editor of the B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis and Policy and the Italian Economic Journal. Her recent research work is focused on migration, human capital, culture, diversity and networks.