Selected theses 2018-19

Polarization or Consensus?: Examining Immigration Policy Preferences

Genna Liu '19

Immigration is becoming one of the most salient and divisive topics in American politics, and a range of specific issues - such as border security spending, legal status requirements, citizenship requirements, E-Verify, family separation, and temporary foreign worker visas - are now heatedly debated. But which of these issues are American citizens more concerned about, and which particular policies do they prefer? I examine these questions by conducting conjoint analysis, a method suitable for identifying multidimensional preferences. Although border wall funding dominated real-world politics when the survey was fielded, I find that family separatioin is the issue of top concern for Americans. Furthermore, I find that Americans' policy preferences are deeply polarized: the well-known "hidden consensus" on Americans' preferences of type of immigrants is not applicable to immigration policies (Hainmueller and Hopkins 2015). These results suggest that there exists discrepancies between preferences of politicians and voters, as well as between preferences for immigrants and immigration policies.

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