The Impact of Education and Age Cohort on Attitudes toward Immigration in Europe

Umansky, K., Lutz, W., & Weber, D. ORCID: (2019). The Impact of Education and Age Cohort on Attitudes toward Immigration in Europe. IIASA Working Paper. Laxenburg, Austria: WP-19-008

[thumbnail of WP-19-008.pdf]
WP-19-008.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial.

Download (301kB) | Preview
Project: Reassessing Ageing from a Population Perspective (RE-AGEING, FP7 323947)


In the context of current discussions about increasing cultural diversity of European societies and a radicalization of the political sphere this paper studies the role that better education could play in increasing tolerance towards immigrants. We complement the existing literature on determinants of attitudes to foreign populations by explicitly addressing the role of educational attainment using individual-level panel data combined with aggregate information on recent migration to the EU countries. Using data from the European Social Survey, we examine the role of educational attainment on general, cultural and economic attitudes toward immigration over 12 years by pooling 16 EU countries. We also study and compare the two individual countries Norway and Finland with many institutional similarities but different migration histories. Our findings indicate a significant positive effect of higher education on a more favourable attitude toward immigration in all three aspects. However, on top of this very strong education effect we also found that the youngest cohorts (born between 1980 and 1999) were less tolerant toward immigration than older cohorts (born between 1940 and 1980). Furthermore, with respect to recent levels of immigration to the EU countries, we found that stronger migrant inflows have a significant positive effect on the economic aspect of attitudes toward immigration but significant negative effects on attitudes in general and cultural aspects, indicating that Europeans do generally welcome the work of migrants but are more negative about the cultural change they bring. Viewed together, these findings clearly indicate that higher education can be an effective way of increasing the tolerance to migrants and help reduce the tendency towards radicalization.

Item Type: Monograph (IIASA Working Paper)
Research Programs: World Population (POP)
Depositing User: Luke Kirwan
Date Deposited: 03 Oct 2019 09:09
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 17:32

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item