Paper published in “Eurasian Geography and Economics” - 22.05.2014

Is institutional trust related to pro-immigrant attitudes? A pan-European evidence

Vivika Halapuu, Tiiu Paas, Tiit Tammaru & Aire Schütz

Eurasian Geography and Economics

This paper examines the factors that are related to attitudes toward immigrants in Europe, with a particular focus on the role of institutional trust in shaping these attitudes. We go one step further compared to previous studies by investigating separately two different groups of people – members of the ethnic majority and ethnic minority populations in European countries. We use data from the European Social Survey fifth round database for 25 countries. The results of the paper show that trust in institutions is the variable that is most strongly associated with the attitudes toward immigrants implying on the importance of fair and supportive operation of political institutions to move toward more immigrant-tolerant environment and become an attractive destination country in the global competition of talents. The findings also indicate that not all of the main determinants of the attitudes toward immigrants drawn from the most common theoretical explanations seem to explain the variation of the attitudes toward immigrants among ethnic minority populations the same way as they explain it in the case of ethnic majority populations