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Concerns About Automation and Negative Sentiment Toward Immigration
Keywords: immigration, intergroup threat, automation
Abstract: Across eleven studies, we examine how concerns about the rise of automation may be associated with attitudes and beliefs towards immigrants. Studies 1a-1g use archival data ranging from 1986 – 2017 across both the United States and Europe to demonstrate a robust association between concerns about automation and more hostile attitudes towards immigrants. Studies 2a, 2b, and 3 employ both correlational and experimental methods to demonstrate that when people are exposed to automation as an employment threat, people increase support for restrictive immigration policies. In addition, this association was mediated by perceptions of both realistic and symbolic intergroup threat. Finally, Study 4 experimentally demonstrates that automation may lead to more discriminatory behavior towards immigrants in the context of layoffs. Altogether, these results suggest that concerns about automation correspond to perceptions of threat and competition with immigrants, and consequent anti-immigration sentiment.