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Social Distance, Immigrant Integration, and Welfare Chauvinism in Sweden

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posted on 26.02.2021, 12:15 by Tina Goldschmidt, Jens RydgrenJens Rydgren
Populist radical right-wing parties across Europe garner support for welfare chauvinistic promises to limit government spending on immigrants and focus on natives’ welfare instead. However, most research on the so-called immigration-welfare nexus does not study welfare chauvinism but instead focuses on generalized support for the welfare state. Using Swedish register-linked survey data from 2013, we study three hypothetical pathways into welfare chauvinism: via ethnic prejudice, operationalized as a desire for social distance; via the direct experience of immigrant unemployment and putative welfare receipt in the neighborhood context; and via immigrant competition at the workplace. Based on our sample of native-born Swedes, we find that both negative prejudice and the share of unemployed immigrants among the neighborhood population provide two distinct and independent routes into chauvinism, while workplace competition does not.


This work was supported by Forte – the Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare (grant number: 2011-0205). Tina Goldschmidt also gratefully acknowledges funding from the European Consortium for Sociological Research (ECSR Internship Grant 2015/2016) and from the Rhodin Foundation (Stockholm University Donation Scholarship), which funded her research visit to the WZB Berlin Social Science Center during which this paper was largely written.


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Social Distance, Immigrant Integration, and Welfare Chauvinism in Sweden

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310 Sociologiska institutionen | Department of Sociology