The Immigration Dilemma: The Role of Perceived Group Competition, Ethnic Prejudice, and National Identity



In this article, we discuss the role of perceived competition for resources in determining negative attitudes toward immigrants and immigration in North America. We first provide background information on immigration policies and levels of immigration to Canada and the United States. Following an overview of our theoretical perspective, we then describe the research we have conducted in Canada and the United States indicating that perceived zero-sum competition between groups, whether situationally induced or a function of chronic belief in zero-sum relations among groups, is strongly implicated in negative immigration attitudes. In addition, we describe our recent attempts to improve attitudes toward immigrants and immigration through the targeting of zero-sum beliefs and through manipulations of the inclusiveness of national identity.