Public opinion toward immigration reform: The role of economic motivations

Jack Citrin, Donald P. Green, Christopher Muste, Cara Wong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

742 Scopus citations


This paper tests hypotheses concerning the effects of economic factors on public opinion toward immigration policy. Using the 1992 and 1994 National Election Study surveys, probit models are employed to test diverse conceptualizations of the effects of economic adversity and anxiety on opposition to immigration. The results indicate that personal economic circumstances play little role in opinion formation, but beliefs about the state of the national economy, anxiety over taxes, and generalized feelings about Hispanics and Asians, the major immigrant groups, are significant determinants of restrictionist sentiment. This restricted role of economic motives rooted in one's personal circumstances held true across ethnic groups, among residents in communities with different numbers of foreign-born, and in both 1992 and 1994.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)858-881
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Politics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1997


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