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Date Permissions Signed


Date of Award


Document Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Political Science

First Advisor

Abedi, Amir, 1966-

Second Advisor

Biswas, Bidisha

Third Advisor

Inverarity, James M.


This study examines some of the potential underlying conditions that trigger prejudice against immigrants in Western Europe. The specific factors of economic concerns and perceptions of immigration population are used to generate three hypotheses 1) that economic concerns and perceptions of large immigrant populations drive negative attitude formation toward immigrants, and these factors are especially acute when they interact, 2) the two factors contribute to negative attitude formation regardless of societal context, and 3) that the two factors of study are not spurious and are able to withstand the factoring in of exclusionary variables. The study uses the 2008 wave of the European Social Survey for testing and finds that the hypotheses are partially confirmed. Economic concern is a factor when an individual is thinking about their country at large and when personal concerns interact with perceptions of high immigration, however the degree to which these factors influence negative attitude formation may be tempered by societal context. The larger finding of this study is that negative attitude formation toward immigrants is largely affected by an individual's personal level of happiness, life satisfaction, and general feelings of fairness and trust. This study is left to conclude that animosity or negative feelings toward immigrants is an external demonstration of internal dissatisfaction, in other words a symptom of an underlying problem rather than a substantial problem unto itself.





Western Washington University

OCLC Number


Subject – LCSH

Immigrants--Europe--Public opinion; Europe--Emigration and immigration--Public opinion

Geographic Coverage





masters theses




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