Factorial Surveys in Social Psychology: The Role of Economic and Cultural Threat for Explaining Support of Immigration Control in Switzerland

Monday, 11 July 2016: 15:15
Location: Hörsaal 4C KS (Neues Institutsgebäude (NIG))
Oral Presentation
Katrin AUSPURG, LMU Munich, Germany
Claudia DIEHL, University of Konstanz, Germany
Thomas HINZ, University of Konstanz, Germany
Discussions about feelings of threats and their impact on attitudes towards migration have a long tradition in social psychology. By using data from a factorial survey experiment among around 1,100 respondents with Swiss citizenship (conducted shortly after the successful initiative to restrict further migration to Switzerland in 2014), we analyze the role of economic and cultural threat in explaining support of immigration control in Switzerland. Economic threat is assumed to be high when migrants and natives have similar levels of education, and perceived cultural threat is assumed to be high when nationally pride natives are confronted with migrants unwilling to adapt culturally. Furthermore, it is analyzed whether threat varies across immigrant groups that differ in size, aggregate skill level and cultural background. Results show that both economic and cultural threat play a role in explaining support for immigration control. In line with previous studies economic threat seems to be an issue for highly-skilled natives when they are confronted with large groups of migrants with similar skill levels to their own. Likewise, nationally pride natives seem threatened not only by culturally distant migrants, but also by large migrant groups who are not willing to adapt culturally and at the same time not being dissimilar enough to stay culturally apart. The paper can also contribute to some new methological discussions about factorial survey experiments (e.g. possible mode effects in online panels).