Photo for Summer Program: "Left out: How...

Venezuela. (Photo: Eneas De Troya, cropped). CC BY 2.0

Summer Program: "Left out: How partisanship affects support for refugees in Colombia"

Faculty Work in Progress

Venezuela. (Photo: Eneas De Troya, cropped). CC BY 2.0

Margaret Peters, Department of Political Science
Commentator: Efrén Pérez, Department of Political Science

How do natives form opinions on immigrants when those immigrants are very similar? In this paper, we argue that in developing country democracies, concerns over whether immigrants will support an opposition party can drive attitudes towards immigrants who are otherwise very similar. In many contexts, the overlap between ethnicity and partisanship makes it hard to disentangle the importance of partisan fears from other identities. To disentangle these issues, we therefore look at a case in which migrants come from a similar ethnic and language background but are seen to have different political attitudes: the migration of Venezuelans to Colombia. To test our argument that partisan fears may drive opinions on immigration in Colombia, we fielded a face-to-face survey to about 1,000 Colombians and 1,600 Venezuelans in Colombia, which included observational questions about their opinions about migration and forced choice conjoint on refugee resettlement, comparing support for Venezuelan migrants with resettlement of internally displaced Colombians. We found broad support that partisan fears affects opinion toward Venezuelans migrants. This paper, then, adds to the literature on how the lines of political competition can lead to heightened salience of some identities over others.

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Published: Friday, September 25, 2020

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