The Majority-Minority Divide in Attitudes toward Internal Migration: Evidence from Mumbai

Nikhar Gaikwad, Gareth Nellis
2016 American Journal of Political Science  
Rapid urbanization is among the major processes affecting the developing world. The influx of internal migrants to cities frequently provokes antagonism on the part of long-term residents, manifested in labor-market discrimination, political nativism, and even violence. We implemented a novel, face-to-face survey experiment on a representative sample of the population of Mumbai to elucidate the causes of anti-migrant hostility. Our findings point to the centrality of material self-interest in
more » ... e formation of native attitudes. Dominant-group members fail to heed migrants' ethnic attributes, yet for minority-group respondents, considerations of ethnicity and economic threat cross-cut one another. We introduce a new political mechanism to explain this divergence in majority/minority opinion. Minority communities facing persistent discrimination view in-migration by co-ethnics as a means of enlarging their demographic and electoral base, thereby achieving "safety in numbers." Our paper sheds new light on the drivers of preferences over internal migration, while contributing to policy debates over urban expansion.
doi:10.1111/ajps.12276 fatcat:o2pkpgoti5egbkpe2uv7g4qpim