The Political Economy of Open Borders: Theory and Evidence on the Role of Electoral Rules
54 Pages Posted: 5 Mar 2021
Date Written: March 1, 2021
Institutions matter for the political choice of policies, and hence the consideration of the median voter's preferences should not be considered sufficient. We study theoretically and empirically how different electoral systems affect the level of openness of a country or city, zooming on the labor market as the main source of heterogeneous economic preferences towards immigration. The general result is that a polity is more open to immigration the less likely it is that policy making can be supported by a plurality of voters who do not constitute the absolute majority. There is evidence for this result at all levels in terms of correlations, and we establish causality via regression discontinuity design for the Italian case.
Keywords: Electoral Rules, Immigration, Occupational Choice
JEL Classification: D72, J24, J61, R23
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