Unexplored stylized facts on OECD countries suggest that plurality electoral systems are associated with higher openness to immigration. We propose an explanation based on a retrospective voting model where immigration hurts voters but benefits a rent-seeking policymaker who appropriates part of the income generated by immigrants.To be reappointed, the policymaker must distribute compensation. With respect to proportional systems, plurality systems make it possible to compensate only a few decisive districts and leave higher after-compensation rents, producing therefore higher immigration. In our model, non-decisive districts receive no compensation at all under both electoral systems, providing a rationale for widespread anti-immigration attitudes. Notably, our results also help to explain why governments often seem more pro-immigration than voters. Finally, our model suggests that proportional systems may incentivize the enfranchisement of immigrants with voting rights and that opposition to immigration is more territorially dispersed in plurality systems. Basic evidence supports both predictions.

Electoral Systems and Immigration / G. Russo, F. Salsano. - [s.l] : CSES Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance, 2017 May. (CSEF WORKING PAPERS)

Electoral Systems and Immigration

F. Salsano
2017

Abstract

Unexplored stylized facts on OECD countries suggest that plurality electoral systems are associated with higher openness to immigration. We propose an explanation based on a retrospective voting model where immigration hurts voters but benefits a rent-seeking policymaker who appropriates part of the income generated by immigrants.To be reappointed, the policymaker must distribute compensation. With respect to proportional systems, plurality systems make it possible to compensate only a few decisive districts and leave higher after-compensation rents, producing therefore higher immigration. In our model, non-decisive districts receive no compensation at all under both electoral systems, providing a rationale for widespread anti-immigration attitudes. Notably, our results also help to explain why governments often seem more pro-immigration than voters. Finally, our model suggests that proportional systems may incentivize the enfranchisement of immigrants with voting rights and that opposition to immigration is more territorially dispersed in plurality systems. Basic evidence supports both predictions.
electoral systems; rent extraction; retrospective voting; immigration
Settore SECS-P/02 - Politica Economica
CSEF centro studi Economia e Finanza
http://www.csef.it/WP/wp473.pdf
Working Paper
Electoral Systems and Immigration / G. Russo, F. Salsano. - [s.l] : CSES Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance, 2017 May. (CSEF WORKING PAPERS)
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/2434/563004
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