"Inclusive Redistribution and Perceptions of Immigrants’ Membership in Europe and North America"


Friday January 20, 2023
12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

The Canadian Opinion Research Archive (CORA) and the Department of Political Studies' Winter 2023 Speaker Series Present:

Allison Harell, Professor of Political Science at UQAM

"Inclusive Redistribution and Perceptions of Immigrants’ Membership

in Europe and North America"

Friday, January 20, 2023 | 12:00-1:30 PM

Mackintosh-Corry Hall, Room D214 | 68 University Avenue, Kingston

Light lunch provided

Abstract: Previous studies of public opinion have shown that immigrants and racialized minorities are often seen as less deserving of welfare benefits than native-born citizens. However, there is no consensus on its causes, or on how to build greater public support for more inclusive redistribution. While prejudice and discourses of deservingness have played a central role in this literature, I will argue that support for redistribution to immigrants and racialized minorities is powerfully tied to perceptions of their “membership commitment”: that is, whether they are seen as committed to the larger society and willing to make sacrifices for it (Harell et al. 2021). The presentation will focus on results from an original seven-country survey conducted in 2021-2022 in Canada, Denmark, Great Britain, Italy, Sweden, and the US. The study provides the first systematic and cross-national test of the extent to which immigrants suffer a “membership penalty” within host societies, and how these membership penalties vary across Western countries with different citizenship and welfare regimes. In turn, these penalties are powerfully linked to both general redistribution attitudes, but especially inclusive redistribution, understood as the inclusion of immigrants in major social programs on the same terms and conditions as native-born. I conclude with a broader discussion of the barriers that immigrants and other marginalized groups face in being perceived as equally committed as native-born citizens and how these barriers might be addressed.