Sources of Negative Attitudes toward Immigrants in Europe: A Multi-Level Analysis1


  • 1

    The author is indebted to Alan Booth and Glenn Firebaugh for helpful comments on an earlier version of this paper. Project approved by the Pennsylvania State University Institutional Review Board, #24909.


In recent times, many nations are experiencing an increase in anti-immigrant attitudes on the part of natives. Most papers only explore one or two sources of anti-immigrant attitudes at a time, which provides an incomplete picture of the effects at work. This paper tests eight different explanations for anti-immigrant attitudes: cultural marginality theory, human capital theory, political affiliation, societal integration, neighborhood safety, contact theory, foreign investment, and economic competition. Analysis is conducted using combined data from the European Social Survey and Eurostat/OECD and individual-, regional-, and national-level predictors. Results indicate that key predictors of anti-immigrant attitudes are regional and national interpersonal trust, education level, foreign direct investment, and political variables.