• Seminar,

Junior Migration Webinar

Published on March 22, 2021 Updated on March 22, 2021
Le 29 March 2021 De 17:30 à 18:30

Sara Giunti

The Refugee Crisis and Right-Wing Populism: Evidence from the Italian Dispersal Policy

Co-authors: Francesco Campo and Mariapia Mendola


This paper examines how the 2014-2017 ‘refugee crisis’ in Italy affected voting behavior and the rise of right–wing populism in national Parliamentary elections. We collect unique administrative data and leverage exogenous variation in refugee resettlement across Italian municipalities induced by the Dispersal Policy. We find a positive and significant effect of the share of asylum seekers on support for radical-right anti-immigration parties. The effect is heterogeneous across municipality characteristics, yet robust to dispersal policy features. We provide causal evidence that the anti–immigration backlash is not rooted in adverse economic effects, while it is triggered by radical–right propaganda.

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