Can framing change individual attitudes towards immigration?
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Does framing change individual attitudes towards immigration? This thesis analyzes the effect of providing information about the unemployment- and employment rate of immigrants in Norway, as well as information about the impact the rates may have on the Norwegian welfare state. I expose some treatment groups to statistics of the rates, and others to information about how the rates may affect the Norwegian welfare state. I conduct a randomized survey experiment with more than 1,000 respondents to investigate whether framing of the behavior (unemployed or employed) and/or the impact of this behavior (cost or benefit) changes views and attitudes towards immigration policy. These views and attitudes may reflect underlying beliefs and preferences, which again may be situation-dependent. The paper finds that the respondents internalize the framing, and that information about the employment rate of immigrants in Norway (60 percent) causes individuals to rate their preferences for immigration policy more strictly. This suggests that people react negatively to a seemingly low employment rate of immigrants. The results indicate that the experimental design activates certain beliefs and preferences for immigration, and that framing causes a short-term change in preferences for immigration policy. Since individual preferences are a determinant of policy outcome, and immigration policy is an important domain for political parties, my results implicate that providing negative information about the behavior of immigration right before an election, may affect the results of the election. More generally, various types of information may influence how people perceive immigration and are accordingly important for policy outcomes and integration.
PublisherThe University of Bergen
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