Published online by Cambridge University Press: 13 October 2017
Do increasing, and increasingly diverse, immigration flows lead to declining support for redistributive policy? This concern is pervasive in the literatures on immigration, multiculturalism and redistribution, and in public debate as well. The literature is nevertheless unable to disentangle the degree to which welfare chauvinism is related to (a) immigrant status or (b) ethnic difference. This paper reports on results from a web-based experiment designed to shed light on this issue. Representative samples from the United States, Quebec, and the “Rest-of-Canada” responded to a vignette in which a hypothetical social assistance recipient was presented as some combination of immigrant or not, and Caucasian or not. Results from the randomized manipulation suggest that while ethnic difference matters to welfare attitudes, in these countries it is immigrant status that matters most. These findings are discussed in light of the politics of diversity and recognition, and the capacity of national policies to address inequalities.