The Economic Roots of Anti-Immigrant Prejudice in the Global South:
Evidence from South Africa
Harris, Adam S., Michael G. Findley, Daniel L. Nielson, and Kennard L. Noyes. 2018. "The Economic Roots of Anti-Immigrant Prejudice in the Global South: Evidence from South Africa." Political Research Quarterly 71(1): 228-241.
Abstract: Most research in developed countries on prejudice toward foreign-born minorities suggests that cultural rather than economic threat motivates xenophobia. Prior studies leave unanswered questions about the origins of anti-immigrant prejudice in developing countries, where one-third of worldwide immigration occurs. Alternatively, developing-country research simply assumes that economic threat drives prejudice in the global South but has not presented credible empirical evidence. In this study, we seek to reliably measure anti-immigrant prejudice and examine possible determinants of prejudice and prejudice-based voting behavior. Through a list experiment conducted on a random sample of South Africans (N = 1,088), we investigate the predictive power of economic threat theory in explaining prejudice toward immigrants in South Africa. The results show that significant prejudice toward immigrants exists among South Africans and that such prejudice is higher among the unemployed, but these sentiments do not seem to influence vote choice. The evidence suggests that the determinants of anti-immigrant sentiments due to South-South migration are distinct from South-North migration.