Attitudes toward immigrants and immigration policy in Asia and the Pacific: a quantitative assessment of current theoretical models beyond western countries

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Abstract

ABSTRACT: This article empirically assesses the validity of current theoretical models of attitudes toward immigrants and immigration policy in the Asia-Pacific region. This paper takes representative data from the World Values Survey and implements a multilevel model to test five of the main theories in the literature: the human capital theory, the social capital theory, the political orientation theory, the contact/group threat theory and the economic competition theory. The results from the analysis lend credence to the important effects of human capital, social capital and political-ideological variables on respondents’ attitudes toward immigrants and immigration policy. However, the results provide mixed and weak evidence for the contact/group threat theory and the role of economic determinants. Importantly, economic determinants tend to be more powerful in shaping people's attitudes toward immigration policy than shaping attitudes toward immigrants as people. Altogether, this article sheds new light on the validity of current theoretical models based on western countries for other areas of the world. Finally, the results from the paper also support the usefulness of non-economic, as opposed to purely economic, models in the understanding of individuals’ attitudes toward immigrants and immigration policy in the Asia-Pacific region.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)87-123
Number of pages37
JournalAsian Journal of Political Science
Volume24
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2 2016

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Keywords

  • Attitudes
  • Discrimination
  • Immigrants
  • Immigration
  • Prejudice
  • Public Opinion
  • Survey

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations

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