Birds of a Feather: Sharing Democratic Values Eases Immigration in a Postmaterialist Society

Jin Jiang, Shouzhi Xia, Dong Zhang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review


Although prior research has proposed multiple approaches to reducing anti-immigrant discrimination, less is known about whether priming a shared political ideology works. Integrating a text analysis and a pre-registered survey experiment, we study Hong Kong residents’ attitudes toward mainland Chinese immigrants. By employing the structural topic model, we analyze more than 4,000 Hong Kong newspaper articles on mainland immigrants between 2003 and 2020 and show that the political implications of mainland immigration have gained increasing attention in mass media, whereas economic and social concerns have waned in salience. Resonating with this analysis, our survey experiment reveals that when exposed to a vignette priming mainland immigrants’ support for democratic values, young adults in Hong Kong are less likely to support restrictive immigration policies for mainland Chinese. We also find that priming immigrants’ economic contribution and cultural integration, as well as natives’ family history, has limited effects on Hongkongers’ immigration attitudes.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPolitical Behavior
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 3 Oct 2023

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Sociology and Political Science

User-Defined Keywords

  • Democratic values
  • Immigration
  • Postmaterialism
  • Survey experiment
  • Text analysis


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