Negativity bias: the impact of framing of immigration on welfare state support in Germany, Sweden and the UK

Avdagic, Sabina and Savage, Lee (2019) Negativity bias: the impact of framing of immigration on welfare state support in Germany, Sweden and the UK. British Journal of Political Science. ISSN 0007-1234 (Accepted)

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Abstract

How does the framing of immigration influence support for the welfare state? Drawing on research from psychology, specifically the notion of negativity bias and the sequencing of negative and positive information, we argue that negative immigration frames undermine welfare support, while positive frames have little or no effect. Individuals take less notice of positive frames and the effect of such frames is further undermined by the previous exposure to negative frames, which tend to stick longer in people’s minds. Our findings, based on survey experiments on over 9,000 individuals in Germany, Sweden and the UK, show a strong and pervasive effect of negative framing of immigration on welfare support. We also find some evidence that this effect is further amplified for people who hold anti- immigrant and anti-welfare attitudes or feel economically insecure. The effect of positive framing is considerably weaker and does not strengthen welfare support in any of our countries.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: framing, immigration, redistribution, negativity bias
Schools and Departments: School of Law, Politics and Sociology > Politics
Research Centres and Groups: Sussex European Institute
Subjects: J Political Science
Depositing User: Sabina Avdagic
Date Deposited: 17 Jun 2019 14:23
Last Modified: 03 Jul 2019 15:40
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/84342

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