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. pp. 1-22. ISSN 0007-1234

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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, this article argues 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. The findings, based on survey experiments on over 9,000 individuals in Germany, Sweden and the UK, show that negative framing of immigration has a strong and pervasive effect on support for welfare. The article also finds 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 the three 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: 20 Jan 2021 10:30
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/84342

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Project NameSussex Project NumberFunderFunder Ref
Does the framing of immigration affect individual support for redistribution?G1941BRITISH ACADEMYSG161954