Determinants of Public Attitudes Towards Immigrants: Evidence from Arab Barometer

What factors determine public opinion towards immigrants? This inquiry is especially crucial in the context of developing countries since they hold 80 per cent of global refugee populations. Lebanon, with the burden on its shoulders due to hosting about one million Syrians, offers a unique case to study the mechanisms driving the formation of attitudes towards immigrants. In this article, I examine how Syrian density is associated with Lebanese attitudes towards immigrants. Using Arab Barometer Wave IV data (2016), I test three arguments linking public attitudes to natives’ economic, security, and sectarian concerns. My analysis suggests that there is no relationship between employment status and negative attitudes towards immigrants. Instead, I argue that perceived economic situation and sense of security provide better mechanisms for the formation of natives’ attitudes towards immigrants. Moreover, I present the observational evidence that Lebanese attitudes towards immigrants are driven by one’s sectarian affiliation. Notably, Christians are more likely to adopt positive attitudes towards immigrants as Syrian density increases, compared with Shi’as more likely to cite prejudice.

View External Site