A new paper by Anna Maria Mayda and Giovanni Facchini examines individual attitudes towards skilled immigrants.
It is commonly argued that skilled immigration benefits the destination country through several channels. Yet, only a small group of countries reports to have policies in place aimed at increasing the intake of skilled immigrants. Why? In this paper we analyze the factors that a direct measure of individual attitudes towards skilled migration, focusing on two main channels: the labor market and the welfare state. We find that more educated natives are less likely to favor skilled immigration - consistent with the labor-market channel – while richer people are more likely to do so – in accordance with the welfare state channel under the tax adjustment model. Our findings thus suggest that the labor market competition threat perceived by skilled natives in the host countries might be driving the observed cautious policies.
Why would more educate natives resist skilled immigration? They fear competition. They don’t want to be displaced.