Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

National Debates, Local Responses: The Origins of Local Concern about Immigration in Britain and the United States


Theories of inter-group threat hold that local concentrations of immigrants produce resource competition and anti-immigrant attitudes. Variants of these theories are commonly applied to Britain and the United States. Yet the empirical tests have been inconsistent. This paper analyses geo-coded surveys from both countries to identify when residents’ attitudes are influenced by living near immigrant communities. Pew surveys from the United States and the 2005 British Election Study illustrate how local contextual effects hinge on national politics. Contextual effects appear primarily when immigration is a nationally salient issue, which explains why past research has not always found a threat. Seemingly local disputes have national catalysts. The paper also demonstrates how panel data can reduce selection biases that plague research on local contextual effects.

Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

Romain Garbaye , Getting into Local Power: The Politics of Ethnic Minorities in British and French Cities (Malden, Mass.: Blackwell, 2005)

John Solomos , Race and Racism in Britain (London: Macmillan, 1993)

Rafaela Dancygier , Immigration and Conflict in Europe (New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2010)

Robert Huckfeldt and John Sprague , Citizens, Politics and Social Communication: Information and Influence in an Election Campaign (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1995)

David Sanders , Paul Whiteley , Harold Clarke and Marianne Stewart , ‘2005/6 British Election Study’ [Computer file] Available online at: [accessed 29 January 2008]

John R. Zaller , The Nature and Origins of Mass Opinion (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1992)

David Deacon , Dominic Wring and Peter Golding , ‘The “Take a Break Campaign?”: National Print Media Reporting of the Election’, in Dominic Wring, Jane Green, Roger Mortimore and Simon Atkinson, eds, Political Communications: The General Election Campaign of 2005 (New York: Macmillan, 2007)

Benjamin I. Page and Robert Y. Shapiro , The Rational Public: Fifty Years of Trends in Americans’ Policy Preferences (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992)

Deborah Phillips , ‘Black Minority Ethnic Concentration, Segregation and Dispersal in Britain’, Urban Studies, 35 (1998), 16811702

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

British Journal of Political Science
  • ISSN: 0007-1234
  • EISSN: 1469-2112
  • URL: /core/journals/british-journal-of-political-science
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 10
Total number of PDF views: 153 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 395 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 22nd September 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.