Xenophobia and its implications for refugee policies: A cross-national study

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D'Amico, Elisa
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Robert Urbatsch
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Political Science
The Department of Political Science has been a separate department in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (formerly the College of Sciences and Humanities) since 1969 and offers an undergraduate degree (B.A.) in political science, a graduate degree (M.A.) in political science, a joint J.D./M.A. degree with Drake University, an interdisciplinary degree in cyber security, and a graduate Certificate of Public Management (CPM). In addition, it provides an array of service courses for students in other majors and other colleges to satisfy general education requirements in the area of the social sciences.
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Refugee policy matters, both for academic researchers and real-world policy debates. The topic of refugee integration is just as relevant. Xenophobia has been on the rise and is an important theme in the realm of refugee policy discussion as well. Does xenophobia lower the likelihood of a nation’s policies helping to integrate refugees with the rest of society? If host-nation citizens fear that refugees will harm the economy, increase terrorism and heighten crime rates, lawmakers will have little reason to prioritize integrative refugee policies. These factors suggest that when a country is more xenophobic, integrative refugee policies will not be high on the lawmakers’ agenda. To examine this question, this study uses information about 67 countries from a variety of sources including the World Values Survey, UNHCR country reports and the European Social Survey. A multivariate regression controlling for region, economic downturns, whether the country is in the European Union as well as additional confounding variables shows that higher xenophobic tendencies among a countries population do in fact lead to a lower likelihood of a nation’s implementing an integrative refugee policy. Also analyzed was whether percent increase in incidents of terrorism, crime rates and economic health had statistical significance in terms of percent change in refugee acceptance over the span of 2012–2016. The results of this analysis show that there is not statistical significance that a high percent change in refugee admittance leads to a high percent increase in incidents of terrorism, crime rates and safety rates. However, a high percent change in refugee admittance leads to a high percent change in economic growth. Future research should further investigate the implications of xenophobia at a governmental level on integration policies.

Tue May 01 00:00:00 UTC 2018