Skip to main content Accessibility help

Immigration, Integration, and Support for Redistribution in Europe

  • Brian Burgoon


Immigration poses individual or collective economic risks that might increase citizen support for government redistribution, but it can also generate fiscal pressure or undermine social solidarity to diminish such support. These offsetting conditions obscure the net effects of immigration for welfare states. This article explores whether immigration's effects are mediated by the economic and social integration of immigrants. Integration can be conceptualized and measured as involving the degree to which immigrants suffer unemployment rates, depend on welfare-state benefits, and harbor social attitudes similarly to the native population. Such integration may alter how immigration reduces solidarity and imposes fiscal and macroeconomic pressures, but does not much alter how immigration spurs economic risks for natives. Where migrants are more integrated by such measures, immigration should have less negative or more positive implications for native support for government redistribution and welfare states than where migrants are less integrated. The article explores these arguments using survey data for twenty-two European countries between 2002 and 2010. The principal finding is that economic integration, more than sociocultural integration, softens the tendency of immigration to undermine support for redistributive policies.



Hide All

* Earlier versions of this article were presented at the Juan March Institute in Madrid, Merton College Oxford, the Midwest Political Science Association annual meeting in Chicago, the CEPR-UvA Workshop on Immigration, and the International Studies Association annual meeting in San Francisco. For their comments and suggestions, I am grateful to participants at these meetings, especially Larry Bartels, Pablo Beramendi, Tito Boeri, Luis de la Calle, Ignacio Sanchez Cuenca, Alex Kuo, Yotam Margalit, Anna Maria Mayda, Jonas Pontusson, Hillel Rapoport, Philip Rehm, Andrew Richards, David Rueda, and Geoffrey Underhill.

Recommend this journal

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

World Politics
  • ISSN: 0043-8871
  • EISSN: 1086-3338
  • URL: /core/journals/world-politics
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
Type Description Title
Supplementary materials

Burgoon Supplementary Material

 Word (127 KB)
127 KB


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed