Predisposing Factors and Situational Triggers

American Political Science Review (Impact Factor: 3.93). 02/2004; 98(01). DOI: 10.1017/S000305540400098X
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This paper examines the bases of opposition to immigrant minorities in Western Europe, focusing on The Netherlands. The specific aim of this study is to test the validity of predictions derived from two theories98. The experiments, combined with parallel individual-level measures, allow measurement of the comparative impact of both dispositionally based and situationally triggered threats to economic well-being and to national identity at work. The results show, first, that considerations of national identity dominate those of economic advantage in evoking exclusionary reactions to immigrant minorities and, second, that the effect of situational triggers is to mobilize support for exclusionary policies above and beyond the core constituency already predisposed to support them.

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Available from: Louk Hagendoorn, Jul 14, 2014
    • "Most survey experiments exploring immigration attitudes randomly vary only one or two attributes at a time using vignettes or short characterizations (e.g. Brader et al. 2008; Hainmueller and Hiscox 2010; Hopkins 2013; Sniderman et al. 2004; Valentino and Iyengar 2011). Conjoint analysis, however, exposes subjects to numerous randomly varied immigrant characteristics simultaneously, and this permits us to disentangle the independent influence of each (Hainmueller and Hopkins 2014; Hainmueller et al. 2014). "
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    ABSTRACT: Scholars debate the relative strength of economic and ‘socio-psychological’ sources of anti-immigrant sentiment. However, the literature often fails to distinguish legal from illegal immigration and therefore overlooks a major instance in which this debate is moot. To address this issue, we develop a theory that recognizes two different modes of evaluating immigrants: “attribute-based” judgment, in which respondents weigh immigrants’ desirability based on individual characteristics—human capital, race, language ability, and so on—and “categorical” judgment, which disregards these altogether. Categorical judgments arise when a policy issue triggers blanket considerations of justice or principle that obviate considerations about putative beneficiaries’ individual merits, instead evoking overriding beliefs about the desirability of the policy as a whole or casting the entire category as uniformly deserving or undeserving. We use experimental evidence from two national surveys to show that the principal distinction between attitudes toward legal and illegal immigration is not in the relative weight of immigrants’ attributes but the much greater prevalence of categorical assessments of illegal immigration policy, much of it rooted in rigid moralistic convictions about the importance of strict adherence to rules and laws.
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    • "Hopkins [29] identifies conditions that make a community more likely to be hostile to immigration. Sniderman, Hagendoorn and Prior [40] find that Dutch citizens favor immigration by highly educated workers, and not by those who are only suited for unskilled jobs. "
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    ABSTRACT: In a heterogeneous society with two social groups with competing social norms, members of the relatively worse-off group face an incentive to adopt the social norms of the better-off group and assimilate into it. I present a theory in which the cost of assimilation is endogenous, strategically chosen by the better off group in order to screen those who wish to assimilate. In equilibrium, only high types who generate positive externalities to the members of the better-off group assimilate. In an application of the theory, I show that the “acting white” phenomenon in which students of a disadvantaged ethnic group punish peers who succeed academically can be explained as an optimal strategy on the part of untalented students to try to keep their more able peers in their community.
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    • "have strong incentives to reframe issues that do not support their perspectives, resulting in a process of framing and counter-framing (e.g., Riker 1995, 33, and Sniderman and Theriault 2004). Counter-framing, where the alternative frame is offered, provides the reformulation , thereby potentially eliminating the aforementioned subconscious assimilation process; that is, it prompts deliberate processing and provides alternative ways of seeing the problem. "
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    ABSTRACT: One of the most contested questions in the social sciences is whether people behave rationally, A large body of work assumes that individuals do in fact make rational economic, political, and social decisions. Yet hundreds of experiments suggest that this is not the case. Framing effects constitute one of the most stunning and influential demonstrations of irrationality. The effects not only challenge the foundational assumptions of much of the social sciences (e.g., the existence of coherent preferences or stable attitudes), but also lead many scholars to adopt alternative approaches (e.g., prospect theory). Surprisingly, virtually no work has sought to specify the political conditions under which framing effects occur. I fill this gap by offering a theory and experimental test. I show how contextual forces (e.g., elite competition, deliberation) and individual attributes (e.g., expertise) affect the success of framing. The results provide insight into when rationality assumptions apply and, also, have broad implications for political psychology and experimental methods.
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