Cosmopolitan immigration attitudes in Europe's large cities: Adaptation or selection?

Past event

Sie Complex, Room 1020, Forum

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Europe is geographically divided on the issue of immigration. Large cities are the home of Cosmopolitan Europe, where immigration is viewed as a positive contribution to society. Outside the large cities - and especially in the countryside - is Nationalist Europe, where immigration is a threat to the social order. This divide is well documented and much discussed, but (to my knowledge) there has been no research on why people in large cities are more likely to have favorable opinions about immigrants and immigration. Debates about geographic differences generally highlight two possible explanations: adaptation or selection. Distinguishing between the two is important because they have very different implications for the future of European society. To do so, I analyze data from the European Social Survey, the Swiss Household Panel and the German Socio-Economic Panel. The results provide stronger support for selection than adaptation because there is more variation in immigration attitudes across demographic characteristics than across geographic contexts and limited evidence that attitudes change after moving to different geographic contexts. This has numerous implications for our understanding of immigration attitudes and societal divisions in Europe.