Misattributed blame? Attitudes toward globalization in the age of automation

Interesting study and findings:

Many, especially low-skilled workers, blame globalization for their economic woes. Robots and machines, which have led to job market polarization, rising income inequality, and labor displacement, are often viewed much more forgivingly. This paper argues that citizens have a tendency to misattribute blame for economic dislocations toward immigrants and workers abroad, while discounting the effects of technology. Using the 2016 American National Elections Studies, a nationally representative survey, I show that workers facing higher risks of automation are more likely to oppose free trade agreements and favor immigration restrictions, even controlling for standard explanations for these attitudes. Although pocket-book concerns do influence attitudes toward globalization, this study calls into question the standard assumption that individuals understand and can correctly identify the sources of their economic anxieties. Accelerated automation may have intensified attempts to resist globalization.

Source: https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/political-science-research-and-methods/article/misattributed-blame-attitudes-toward-globalization-in-the-age-of-automation/29B08295CEAC4A4A89991E064D0284FF

Racial resentment is the biggest predictor of immigration attitudes, study finds

Not a surprising correlation:

White Americans’ negative attitudes toward immigrants are driven overwhelmingly by racial prejudices, not “economic anxiety,” according to a working paper by political scientist Steven V. Miller of Clemson University.

Immigration hard-liners, including President Trump, often frame their arguments with ostensibly race-neutral appeals to public safety or economic interest. As Trump said in July 2015, Mexicans are “taking our jobs. They’re taking our manufacturing jobs. They’re taking our money. They’re killing us.” This has led many commentators to conclude that the attitudes driving Trump and his supporters on questions of immigration are primarily economic, rather than racial in nature.

Political scientists have subsequently tested this theory, at least as it applies to Trump support overall, and found it lackingover and over and over again. But Miller’s paper is extremely useful because it removes the question from the specific context of 2016 and places it in a more general policy realm.

To do this, he draws on nationally representative survey data from the American National Election Studies and the Voter Study Group, two well-established surveys of voter attitudes and behavior. To measure views on immigration, the surveys ask respondents whether levels of immigration should be increased, decreased or left the same.

The surveys measure racial attitudes using a well-established battery of questions on “racial resentment.” Political scientists generally define this as something like “a moral feeling that blacks violate such traditional American values as individualism and self-reliance.” It’s measured via agreement with statements like, “It’s really a matter of some people not trying hard enough; if blacks would only try harder they could be just as well off as whites” and “Irish, Italians, Jewish and many other minorities overcame prejudice and worked their way up. Blacks should do the same without any special favors.”

The surveys also include a number of ways to measure what’s come to be known as “economic anxiety”: evaluations about the country’s economic health, as well as respondents’ employment status and job market conditions in their communities, counties and states of residence.

Miller also controlled for a number of common economic and demographic variables, such as income, education, age, political party and gender. Respondents’ race wasn’t included as a control because the study looked at the views of only white respondents.

Miller essentially ran a number of statistical tests to determine how white Americans’ economic and racial attitudes correlated with their immigration beliefs: Does being unemployed make white voters more or less likely to support decreasing immigration? What about belief in the strength of the economy? As respondents’ racial resentments increase, what does that do to their views on immigration?

All told, the analyses were “unequivocal that racial resentment is reliably the largest and most precise predictor of attitudes toward immigration,” Miller found. As the chart above shows, “racial resentment has the largest magnitude effect” on the odds that a white respondent will express a preference for less legal immigration. The effect of racial resentment has “nearly six times” the impact as a belief that the economy has gotten worse on respondents’ propensity to favor less immigration.

The racial resentment questions ask only about attitudes toward black Americans. They don’t mention Hispanic immigrants at all. And yet, Miller found, white Americans’ attitudes toward blacks were a powerful predictor of how they felt about immigration. “The familiar racial resentment toward African-Americans is part of a bigger syndrome in which ethnicity/race filters perspectives toward policy, more broadly,” he writes.

Miller cautions that the paper is still in its early stages and has not been peer-reviewed. But his findings do comport with much of the prior research on racial resentment and Trump support, and it makes sense that those attitudes would spill over into more general policy areas as well.

In the end, this should come as no surprise — the empirical case for restricting immigration is a poor one. Studies have consistently shown no link between immigrants and crime, for instance, and the net effect of immigration, legal or otherwise, on the economy tends to be positive, particularly in the long run.

Moreover, a country with a falling fertility rate needs immigration to offset population decline, fill job vacancies and contribute to government coffers.

In the end, Miller writes, “an ounce of racial resentment is worth a pound of economic anxiety.”

Source: Racial resentment is the biggest predictor of immigration attitudes, study finds

A God? That’s complicated. Canadians hanging on to personal faith as organized religion declines: poll | National Post

Angus Reid Religon Poll 2015 - Feelings Towards.001The National Post provides a very good infographic summarizing the findings of the recent Angus-Reid survey Religion and faith in Canada today: strong belief, ambivalence and rejection define our views which contains a wealth of information on attitudes and practices and worth reviewing.

Chart above highlights feelings towards different religions and is largely unsurprising.

The chart below provides a relatively rare view of immigration by religion between 2001-11, showing that while religious minorities are a significant share (36 percent), they are still less than Christian immigrants (42 percent). But the median age of religious minorities is younger than for Christians: 32 compared to 41.

Religious Immigration 2001-11.001

A God? That’s complicated. Canadians hanging on to personal faith as organized religion declines: poll | National Post.

The US political divide on views toward Muslims and Islam | Pew Research Center

USA Views of Religion - PewMapping US party affiliation to attitudes towards different religions. Sharp contrast:

Party affiliation is not the only factor that correlates with differing views toward Muslims and Islam. Younger U.S. adults of all ideological stripes feel more warmly toward Muslims than do older Americans. On the feeling thermometer, those ages 65 and older gave Muslims an average rating of 32 – they don’t rate any group more negatively – while Americans ages 18-29, on average, rated Muslims more positively, at 49.

One’s own religious affiliation also is a factor. For instance, we found that no other religious group is cooler toward Muslims than are white evangelical Protestants, who give Muslims an average rating of 30.

Compared with other groups, older Americans and white evangelicals both tend to affiliate heavily with the Republican Party.

Haven’t seen an equivalent chart for Canada mapping political affiliations to political party supporters although one would expect a similar breakdown between Canadian right and left leaning parties.

The political divide on views toward Muslims and Islam | Pew Research Center.