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  • Seminar,

Junior Migration Webinar

Published on June 11, 2020 Updated on June 11, 2020
Le 15 June 2020 De 16:00 à 17:30

Milena Djourelova and Eugenio Levi

Media Persuasion through Slanted Language: Evidence from the Coverage of Immigration.

Milena Djourelova


Can the language used by mass media to cover policy relevant issues affect readers’ policy preferences? I examine this question for the case of immigration, exploiting an abrupt ban on the term ”illegal immigrant” in wire content distributed to media outlets by the Associated Press (AP). Using text data on AP dispatches and the content of a large number of US print and online outlets, I find that articles mentioning ”illegal immigrant” decline by 28% in outlets that rely on AP relative to others. This change in language appears to have had a tangible impact on readers’ views on immigration. Following AP’s ban, individuals exposed to outlets relying more heavily on AP tend to support less restrictive immigration and border security policies. The effect is driven by frequent readers and does not apply to views on issues other than immigration.

Understanding the Origins of Populist Political Parties and the Role of External Shocks.

Eugenio Levi, Isabelle Sin and Steven Stillman


New Zealand First (NZ First) is a nationalist and populist political party founded in 1993 making it one of the oldest populist parties in the OECD. It takes an ambiguous centrist position on economic issues but is socially conservative and advocates for restrictive immigration policies. The party distinguishes itself from the mainstream political establishment through its use of populist rhetoric. In this paper, we use electoral survey data to examine the impact that two large external shocks had on the development of the party; i) structural reforms and the opening of free trade which were initiated in 1984 and led to large negative impacts on particular industries (and hence on particular locations); and ii) the Immigration Reform Act of 1987 which led to the development of a skilled migration system and large increases in skilled migration. We examine i) the short-run impact of these shocks on voting for NZ First; ii) how these shocks led individuals to change their beliefs and political preferences; iii) the long-run persistence of these shocks; and iv) their importance relative to other factors that encourage people to vote for NZ First. Understanding how these shocks led to the development of NZ First is particular relevant for thinking about how populism has been extending its reach in the 2010s.