Trump, populism and immigration demand

Principal Investigator(s):

Professor Raymond Duch, Nuffield College, University of Oxford

Dr. Denise Laroze, Universidad de Santiago

Mr. Constantin Reinprecht, University of Oxford

Mr. Tom Robinson, University of Oxford

The demand for highly skilled labour exceeds its supply in most developed economies. As the domestic supply of highly skilled labour is likely inelastic in the short- and medium term, immigration can help to meet the demand.  However, firms are often unable to attract sufficient highly skilled labour, partly due to their inability to hire sufficient foreign workers. This inability could be due to insufficient demand from highly skilled individuals to immigrate or by insufficient supply of visas to allow those wanting to immigrate to do so. Firms can lobby governments to increase the supply of visas but they generally cannot affect foreign workers’ preferences for migration.

There is considerable speculation, but little hard evidence, that the immigration policies (or maybe the Twitter sentiment) of President Trump or the surge in nativism and xenophobia have negatively impacted the demand from highly skilled individuals to migrate to the U.S. This is an important issue, due to the extent to which many U.S. firms rely on, and recruit aggressively in, highly skilled foreign labour pools. This project uses an online experiment across multiple countries, including India, to causally identify the impact of purportedly anti-immigrant or “nativist” policies on the immigration country preferences of highly skilled individuals.

The CESS Nuffield – FLAME University team completed the data collection for the India portion of this project in May, 2018.