Social Science Research vol:38 issue:2 pages:352-365
Anti-immigration attitudes and its origins have been investigated quite extensively. Research that focuses on the evolution of attitudes toward immigration, however, is far more scarce. In this paper, we use data from the first three rounds of the European Social Survey (ESS) to study the trend of anti-immigration attitudes between 2002 and 2007 in 17 European countries. In the first part of the paper, we discuss the critical legitimacy for comparing
latent variable means over countries and time. A Multiple-Group Multiple Indicator Structural Equation Modeling (MGSEM) approach is used to test the cross-country and cross-time equivalence of the variables under study. In a second step, we try to offer an explanation for the observed trends using a dynamic version of group conflict theory. The country-specific evolutions in attitudes toward immigration are shown to coincide with national context factors, such as immigration flows and changes in unemployment rates.