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Are attitudes towards immigration changing in Europe? An analysis based on bidimensional latent class IRT models

Genge, Ewa and Bartolucci, Francesco (2019): Are attitudes towards immigration changing in Europe? An analysis based on bidimensional latent class IRT models.

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Abstract

We analyse the changing attitudes towards immigration in EU host countries in the last few years (2010-2016) on the basis of the European Social Survey data. These data are collected by the administration of a questionnaire made of items concerning different aspects related to the immigration phenomenon. For this analysis we rely on a class of item response theory models that allow for: (i) multidimensionality; (ii) discreteness of the latent trait distribution; (iii) time-constant and time-varying covariates; and (iv) sample weights. Through these models we find latent classes of Europeans with similar levels of immigration acceptance, we study the effect of different socio-economic covariates on the probability of belonging to these classes, and we assess the item characteristics. In this way we show which countries tend to be more or less positive towards immigration and the temporal dynamics of the phenomenon under study.

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