Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2013

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Political Science

First Advisor

Jennifer Fitzgerald

Second Advisor

Andy Baker

Third Advisor

Joanne Belknap

Fourth Advisor

David Brown

Fifth Advisor

Anand Sokhey

Abstract

This dissertation develops a greater understanding of immigration attitudes through four essays focused on an important migration hub, Latin America. Each essay either develops existing scholarship by providing highly specified empirical tests of important theoretical debates or utilizes an alternative framework to approach the analysis of immigration attitudes. The first essay (Chapter 2) addresses a long standing theoretical and empirical debate concerning the role of economic self-interest and education in shaping immigration attitudes. I demonstrate that concern over labor competition is not an important factor influencing immigration attitudes in Latin America and that education increases tolerance of foreigners. Chapter 3 utilizes a unique survey experiment conducted in Chile to demonstrate that individual attitudes are a function of sociotropic economic concerns. Additionally, there is evidence that individuals perceive immigration as having important humanitarian implications. Chapter 4 takes an alternative tactic to advancing the scholarly understanding of immigration attitudes by examining how a religious institution can theoretically shape immigration attitudes. In Chapter 5, I formulate an alternative framework to analyze immigration attitudes. I argue that individuals experience migration as a dual phenomenon—one marked by emigration and immigration—and thus their immigration attitudes are influenced by this dual lens. Importantly, I show that both familial and financial connections to emigrants are determinants of immigration attitudes. Overall, the dissertation enhances our understanding of immigration attitudes by leveraging the economic and cultural characteristics of Latin America to test highly debated theory and by developing alternative analytical approaches.

Share

COinS