A Source of Anti-Immigrant Attitude of Populism
[Sejong Policy Studies] No. 2020-05
Dr. KANG Miong Sei
Senior Research Fellow,
The Sejong Institute
Globalization reached the cliff due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is hard to predict how much this pandemic will prolong, yet the impact of pandemic on globalization has been evident. Travels that cross borders stopped and the movements of goods sharply declined. Anti-globalization began a long time ago, although it did not spread as dramatically as the COVID-19 did after the outbreak. The election of Trump, who based his campaign on nation-centrism, proves this. Breixt, which is the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union, is also a form of anti-globalization. Nation-centrism encourages anti-immigrant attitudes in politics. Anti-immigrant attitudes also relate to the competition in the labor market in an economic lens. Low-skilled workers pose anti-immigrant stances since they must compete with immigrant workers. As the competition over limited domestic resources heats up, hostility towards immigrants increases. The competition gets fiercer with the economic recession. Pessimistic assessments of the economy affect immigration issues. Anti-immigrant attitudes also relate to the problem of social identity. Perceptions of immigration differ based on whether an individual has a strong or a weak ethnic identity. People who prefer in-groups are not too friendly to outsiders, such as immigrants. Far-right populism uses anti-immigrant attitudes. This article discusses what affects populism’s anti-immigrant attitudes. Anti-immigrant attitudes exclude minorities and thus, threaten the ideals of democracy. Anti-minority is an important mobilization strategy of right-wing populism. Immigrant labor is a visible movement of labor across borders. It is generally an economic matter regarding labor market supply and demand, yet becomes a political matter when the movement of human capital becomes an economic and a cultural threat. This paper contains five parts. First, it discusses economic and social psychological approaches on anti-immigrant attitudes. Second, it hypothesizes about an economic threat, ethnic identity, and political ideology based on each theoretical discussion. Third, it verifies six hypotheses based on Comparative Study of Electoral Systems (CSES 5). Fourth, it macroscopically discusses anti-immigrant attitudes using a mixed or hierarchical model. Fifth, it suggests political meanings and the future tasks of this study.
※ Translator’s note: This is a summarized unofficial translation of the original paper which was written in Korean. All references should be made to the original paper.
※ This article is written based on the author’s personal opinions and does not reflect the views of the Sejong Institute.