Simon Ellerbrock
The Effect of Local Context on Citizens’ Attitudes toward Immigration Policy. An Analysis of Refugee Reception Centres in Urban Neighborhoods

9th Annual Conference of the European Political Science Association, Belfast, 20. bis 22. Juni 2019

At the latest since the European Refugee Crisis, immigration has moved to the center of political debates in Germany. With the massive influx of immigrants, the ethnic and religious composition of European societies is changing rapidly. Alongside these developments, most European countries have experienced an increasing demand for more restrictive immigration policies in recent years. Existing work mostly focuses on the association between the two phenomena on a national level. Research looking into the effects of immigration on immigration policy preferences on a local level remains limited. I contribute to the ongoing debate by analyzing the effect of refugee reception centres in Germany, where the populist AfD has recently gained electoral support. I combine geolocated survey data from the German city of Mannheim with the locations of refugee reception centres. My results indicate that, even within a highly diverse urban context, the establishment of refugee reception centres leads to an increase in the support for stricter immigration policies. Especially women in whose immediate neighborhood a refugee reception centre is located are affected in their attitudes towards immigration.