Get access

Needed but Not Liked – The Impact of Labor Market Policies on Natives’ Opinions about Immigrants


  • We would like to thank Patrick Emmenegger, Elmar Schlüter, and all our colleagues from the Institute of Sociology and Social Psychology for their comments on an early draft of this article. Our special thanks go to the three anonymous reviewers who provided invaluable insights. The usual disclaimer applies.


This article builds on the notion that immigrants’ integration into the labor market benefits migrants and shapes natives’ opinions about immigrants. Using insights from the newest literature on labor immigration and drawing upon the literature on attitudes toward immigrants, the article explores in a multilevel design the impact that regulations in the EU member states concerning immigrants’ access to domestic labor markets have on threat perceptions and on opinions about immigrants’ economic role. It finds that labor market regulations have a positive effect on opinions about immigrants’ economic role and reduce the negative relationships between precarious labor market status and opinions about the economic role. However, a robust effect of labor market regulations on threat perceptions was not found. Our results imply that labor market incorporation rules need to be accompanied by other measures to close the gap between natives and immigrants.