Attitudinal effects of emigration opportunities

    Project: Research project

    Project Details


    Do emigration opportunities alleviate or deepen citizens’ dissatisfaction with domestic affairs? This question is important as global competition for quality migrants intensifies, leading to an unprecedented diffusion of emigration opportunities. Extensive research has examined the relationships between emigration and overt political activities.
    However, we know very little about how public attitudes may change in the face of expanded emigration opportunities. Theoretically, the presence of options may remind people of missed opportunities and lead them to set expectations that are more difficult to fulfill. Yet, by reducing people’s confidence in the potential for improvement through political participation or other collective actions, it may also, ironically, induce satisfaction with the status quo—a phenomenon known as “system justification” in psychology. Empirically, existing opinion surveys on migration do not distinguish between issue satisfaction and importance, even though they represent distinct aspects of attitudes and likely respond to emigration opportunities differently. These lacunae leave a great deficiency in our understanding of the profound implications that global
    mobility may have on domestic politics.
    This project will exploit the abrupt surge in migration pathways in Hong Kong since 2020. Using a theoretically-grounded panel survey and a pilot-tested experiment, supplemented by in-depth interviews, it will disentangle the complex relationships between the availability of exit options and public attitudes. The panel survey will track, in three waves, changes in emigration opportunities, perceived likelihood of improvement through voice, and attitudes toward public issues within individual respondents over the course of two years. The experiment will manipulate perceived emigration opportunities
    and estimate their causal effects on people’s attitudes toward the status quo. Using a validated news consumption choice task, we will be able to, for the first time, measure and compare the importance people attach to domestic issues in the context of changing emigration opportunities.
    StatusNot started
    Effective start/end date1/01/2531/12/27


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