Titre : Are Immigrants more Left-Leaning than Natives ? co-authored with Simone Moriconi, Giovanni Peri
We analyze whether second generation immigrants converge in their political preferences to those of the host country’s citizens. Using data on individual voting behavior in 22 European countries between 2001 and 2017 we characterize each vote on a left-right scale using ideological and policy position of the party voted from the Manifesto Project Database. We first characterize the vote of second generation migrants and we show a significant left-leaning position relative to observationally identical natives. We than show that political preferences of second generation migrants assimilate towards those of natives, but remain significantly more left leaning due to a combination of cultural transmission, selection and simply sharing the experience of being migrants. This position derives from the combination of stronger preferences for government intervention, disparities reduction policies and more open and inclusive social preferences. Simulations based on the estimated coefficients suggest that, on average, the rise of second generation immigrant population would have a mild, albeit not negligible, effect on the electorate of most Western European countries.