Bram Lancee

Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Amsterdam

Consequences of Immigration

A new urban-rural divide? Explaining attitudinal differences on the basis of inequalities

PhD Project of Twan Huijsmans

Together with Dr. Eelco Harteveld, Prof. Dr. Sarah De Lange and Prof. Dr. Wouter van de Brug

A recent opinion piece in the Financial Times was headlined “Urban-rural splits have become the great global divider” (Rachman 2018). In several academic contributions, rural areas are depicted as economically struggling, demographically declining, and politically either apathetic or on the verge of populist revolt. Cities, by contrast, are depicted as dynamic: winning out in postindustrial and globalizing societies, attracting educated, healthy and politically involved residents. While studying urban and rural differences has a long tradition, it is unclear if and how these differences structure political oppositions in advanced industrial democracies. The aim of this project is to better understand to what extent urban-rural inequalities can explain differences in a range of political attitudes.

Huijsmans, T., Harteveld, E., Van der Brug, W. and Lancee, B. (2021). Are cities ever more cosmopolitan? Studying trends in urban-rural divergence of cultural attitudes. Political Geography, 86, 102353. pdf

Ethnic Diversity and Social Cohesion

Project: Moving to Diversity

Together with Merlin Schaeffer

Studies on ethnic diversity and social cohesion are predominantly cross-sectional In this project we investigate, what happens with people’s concerns about immigration if they move to a neighbourhood that is more diverse or one that is more homogeneous than their previous neighbourhood. Relying on longitudinal data from the German Socio-Economic Panel (GSOEP 2007-2011) and applying a difference-in-difference design, we investigate how the event of moving to a more or less diverse neighbourhood affects people’s opinions about immigration.

We show that moving to diversity results in more concerns about immigration. Moreover, the effect of ethnic diversity lasts over time: even four years after moving people who moved to a more diverse neighbourhood remain more xenophobic and there is no trend that would suggest any later decline either.

Koopmans, R., Lancee, B. and Schaeffer, M. (eds.) (2015). Social Cohesion and Immigration in Europe and North America. Mechanisms, Conditions and Causality. New York /London: Routledge. pdf

Attitudes towards Immigrants

Project: Educational attainment and attitudes towards immigrants

Together with Oriane Sarrasin

While previous studies univocally showed that high education correlates with positive attitudes towards immigrants, the underlying mechanisms remain largely debated. On the one hand, education is argued to foster egalitarian values, which translate into positive attitudes toward immigrants. Additionally, higher educated individuals are assumed to oppose immigration to a lesser extent because they are less likely to face economic competition from immigrants. On the other hand, research on socialization shows that political attitudes develop very early in life. Thus, there may be self-selection into education: children from highly educated or tolerant parents are more likely both to go into high education and to express positive attitudes toward immigrants.

Lancee, B. and Sarrasin, O. (2015). Educated preferences or selection effects? A longitudinal analysis of the impact of educational attainment on attitudes towards immigrants. European Sociological Review, 31(4), 490-501. pdf popdigest

Project: Group Conflict Theory in a Longitudinal Perspective: Analysing the Dynamic Side of Ethnic Competition

Together with Sergi Pardos-Prado

One of the most established approaches to explain attitudes towards immigration is group conflict theory. However, even though the theory was articulated in dynamic terms, previous research has almost exclusively tested it through cross-sectional analyses. The aim of this paper is to disentangle the dynamic character of ethnic competition from more permanent determinants of ethnic threat. The findings show that a remarkable variation of concern over immigration, usually attributed to permanent positions of economic vulnerability, disappears when within-person variation is modeled. In line with a dynamic approach of ethnic competition, becoming unemployed or being laid off increases concern over immigration. This effect is independent of social class.

Lancee, B. and Pardos-Prado, S. (2013). Group conflict theory in a longitudinal perspective: Analyzing the dynamic side of ethnic competition. International Migration Review, 47(1), 106-131. pdf