Does Migration Cause Extreme Voting? Does Migration Cause Extreme Voting? ⇤ release_nhb6helanrg73ox4jsu7a64fy4

by Sascha Becker, Thiemo Fetzer, Sascha Becker, Thiemo Fetzer

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The 2004 accession of 8 Eastern European countries (plus Cyprus and Malta) to the European Union (EU) was overshadowed by feared mass migration of workers from Eastern Europe due to the EU's rules on free mobility of labour. While many incumbent EU countries imposed temporary restrictions on labour mobility, the United Kingdom did not. We document that following EU accession more than 1 million people (ca. 3% of the UK working age population) migrated from Eastern Europe to the UK. Places that received large numbers of migrants from Eastern Europe saw small, but statistically significant increases in the vote shares for the UK Independence Party (UKIP) in elections to the European Parliament. We argue that these estimates are likely lower bounds of the effect of migration on overall anti-European sentiment. We show that the migration wave lowered wages at the bottom end of the wage distribution and contributed to increased pressure on public services and housing.
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