Research Seminar

Country, Culture or Competition - What Drives Attitudes Towards Immigrants in Sub-Saharan Africa? — Finja Krüger

07 Jun 2022


Finja Krüger (Kiel Institute)


The role of Sub-Saharan Africa as a destination for international migration is becoming increasingly important. The region hosts immigrants from other African countries as well as from other parts of the world, for example from China. Given high levels of poverty and weak social security systems in Sub-Saharan Africa, host populations might fear increasing competition for resources and labor, potentially resulting in negative attitudes towards immigrants. Using a survey experiment in Uganda and Senegal, we study both attitudes towards immigrants in general and towards specific immigrant groups. In particular, we focus on Chinese immigrants, whose increasing presence in Africa is seen by many as the most important geopolitical shift involving the continent at the moment. We provide the first systematic study of attitudes towards immigrants in Sub-Saharan African countries that uses a causal framework. We find that attitudes towards immigrants are mainly driven by sociotropic cultural and sociotropic economic concerns. Furthermore, immigrants from China are perceived less positively and economically more threatening than immigrants in general.


Malte Becker (Kiel Institute) –  Tobias Heidland (Kiel Institute, Kiel University) – Finja Krüger (Kiel Institute)


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