How political elites frame the politics of migration

A group of politicians sit at a table with papers and microphones during a meeting.

The past 15 years have seen the transformation of the politics of migration in democracies. The 2008 Credit Crunch, austerity, and the rise of populist parties have all contributed to a growing popular hostility to migration. 

However, beyond the policy launches and press releases, we know little about the views of our politicians. This project, led by Desmond King, seeks to explore the private, personal opinions of policymakers and politicians from the UK, USA, Netherlands, and Sweden. The team is looking to answer three key questions:

  • What are political attitudes toward immigration and migrant integration?
  • What are the root causes of politicians' views on these issues?
  • Under what conditions may politicians change their views on immigration?

Principal Investigator

Professor Desmond King


Gerda Hooijer (Princeton University)


British Academy

The Leverhulme Trust


British Academy/Leverhulme Small Grants

Project Start / End

Apr 2020 - Mar 2021

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