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Illegal immigration and media exposure: evidence on individual attitudes

Facchini, Giovanni; Mayda, Anna Maria; Puglisi, Riccardo


Anna Maria Mayda

Riccardo Puglisi


Illegal immigration has been the focus of much debate in receiving countries, but little is known about the drivers of individual attitudes towards illegal immigrants. To study this question, we use the CCES survey, which was carried out in 2006 in the USA. We find evidence that—in addition to standard labor market and welfare state considerations—media exposure is significantly correlated with public opinion on illegal immigration. Controlling for education, income, ideology, and other socio-demographic characteristics, individuals watching Fox News are 9 percentage points more likely than CBS viewers to oppose the legalization of undocumented immigrants. We find an effect of the same size and direction for CNN viewers, whereas individuals watching PBS are instead more likely to support legalization. Ideological self-selection into different news programs plays an important role, but cannot entirely explain the correlation between media exposure and attitudes about illegal immigration.


Facchini, G., Mayda, A. M., & Puglisi, R. (2017). Illegal immigration and media exposure: evidence on individual attitudes. IZA Journal of Migration, 7(14),

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 9, 2017
Publication Date Sep 27, 2017
Deposit Date Oct 3, 2017
Publicly Available Date Oct 3, 2017
Journal IZA Journal of Development and Migration
Electronic ISSN 2193-9039
Publisher Springer Verlag
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 7
Issue 14
Keywords Immigration, Illegal Immigration, Attitudes, Preferences,
Public URL
Publisher URL


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