What we are reading: Immigration attitudes and the city

Why are city folk more tolerant?

In the olden days, people claimed that city air would set you free. In our times, that may not be true in a strict sense (hey, surveillance capitalism!), but people living in big cities are certainly much more relaxed about many things, including immigration. Is this a result of the more liberal urban context, or do open-minded individuals congregate in cities?

In the fifth week of our reading seminar on participation, we turned to this text to find out :point_down:

Maxwell, R. (2019). Cosmopolitan immigration attitudes in large european cities: contextual or compositional effects? American Political Science Review, 113(2), 456–474. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0003055418000898

What we liked

Students loved the research question, and the range and quality of data sources that went into this paper is fantastic. The author uses national long-term panels to demonstrate that moving to a city (or planning to move) does not change attitudes. That’s pretty solid. Students were not sure if they found the main findings surprising or not, but they were certainly impressed with themselves: while the analysis is quite complex, the exposition was so clear that they could follow without a hitch. Yay us, yay the author!

What we are reading: Immigration attitudes and the city 2

What we did not like so much

I have fed my students a steady diet of short articles from good journals. Encountering the result of the APSR’s 12,000 word limit was a bit of a shock. According to them, there were too many hypotheses, of which they lost track eventually. They found the sheer amount of data somewhat overwhelming. And they could not believe that someone would seriously cap all this with approximately 50 pages of online appendices.

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