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Political Science and Political Economy Research Seminar

Refugee Migration and the Politics of Redistribution: Do Supply and Demand Meet?

Kostas Matakos (King's College London), joint with Janne Tukiainen (VATT Helsinki and U Turku) and Riikka Savolainen (U Newcastle)

Tuesday 18 May 2021 14:00 - 15:30

Due to the onging coronavirus outbreak, many of our seminars and public events this year will continue as online seminars. Please check our website listings and Twitter feed @STICERD_LSE for updates.

About this event

Voter demand for less redistribution in the face of mass migration maps into actual outcomes insofar as politicians supplying these policies respond to it. We study whether establishing new asylum-seeker centers influences redistributive outcomes in Finnish local elections --a country where municipalities have a significant control over fiscal policies. The sudden and unprecedentedly large inflow of asylum-seekers in the fall 2015 and the resulting establishment of asylum centers allows for a difference-in-differences design. We examine simultaneously supply and demand for redistribution by focusing both on candidates' policy positions and also voters' preferences. On the supply side, we find that, on average, candidates do not respond to the presence of refugees by adopting anti-redistributive positions. Our estimates are precise enough to rule out even fairly small effects. In contrast, on the demand side, there is evidence of various voter responses against redistribution (and in favor of the anti-immigration party), on average suggesting that representative democracy filters the mapping of voter preferences on policy outcomes. But this political disequilibrium comes at the price of a \textit{populist backlash}: we find decreased support for insider elite candidates. We probe the mechanism behind the backlash: in the localities more intensely exposed to refugee migration, we observe also a supply-side response (candidates oppose redistribution) while a demand response is less heterogeneous. In the municipalities where the gap between demand and supply is wider also the backlash is larger.

The Political Science and Political Economy (PSPE) research group at the LSE brings together faculty and PhD students who do quantitative and/or formal research on political institutions, political behaviour, public policy, and political economy.

The PSPE Research Seminar provides a venue for researchers (mostly from outside of the LSE) to present their work.

These seminars are held on Tuesdays in term time at 14.00-15.30, ONLINE, unless specified otherwise.

Seminar coordinator: Dr Stephane Wolton

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