Working paper

Immigration and Support for Redistribution: Lessons from Europe

Charlotte Cavaillé, and Karine Van Der Straeten


Research shows that opposition to policies that redistribute across racial divides has affected the development of the American welfare state. Are similar dynamics at play in Western Europe? For many scholars, the answer is yes. In contrast, we argue that researchers’ understanding of the political economy of redistribution in diversifying European countries is too incomplete to reach a conclusion on this issue. First, existing evidence is inconsistent with the assumption —ubiquitous in this line of research— of a universal distaste for sharing resources with people who are culturally, ethnically and racially different. Second, important historical and institutional differences between the U.S. and Europe preclude any straightforward transposition of the American experience to the European case. We discuss what we see as the most promising lines of inquiry going forward.


Immigration; parochial altruism; redistribution; welfare state; Europe; United State;

See also

Published in

IAST working paper, n. 22-145, September 2022