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Immigrants, Citizenship and Political Action in Europe

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  08 November 2011


Little is known about how immigrants participate in politics and whether they transform political engagement in contemporary democracies. This study investigates whether citizenship (as opposed to being foreign-born) affects political and civic engagement beyond the voting booth. It is argued that citizenship should be understood as a resource that enhances participation and helps immigrants overcome socialization experiences that are inauspicious for political engagement. The analysis of the European Social Survey data collected in nineteen European democracies in 2002–03 reveals that citizenship has a positive impact on political participation. Moreover, citizenship is a particularly powerful determinant of un-institutionalized political action among individuals who were socialized in less democratic countries. These findings have important implications for debates over the definition of and access to citizenship in contemporary democracies.

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2012

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1 Zimmerman, Klaus F., European Migration: What Do We Know? (Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press, 2005)Google Scholar.

2 Lemaitre, Georges and Thoreau, Cécile, ‘Estimating the Foreign born Population on Current Basis’ (Unpublished manuscript, Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, Paris, 2006)Google Scholar. The average foreign-born share of the population is about 5 per cent across all member states of the EU.

3 See, for example, Castles, Stephen and Miller, Mark J., The Age of Migration: International Population Movements in the Modern World, 4th edn (Basingstoke, Hants.: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009)Google Scholar; Cornelius, Wayne A., Takeyuki Tsuda, Martin, Philip L. and Hollifield, James F., eds, Controlling Immigration: A Global Perspective, 2nd edn (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 2004)Google Scholar.

4 See, for instance, Hainmueller, Jens and Hiscox, Michael J., ‘Educated Preferences: Explaining Attitudes Toward Immigration in Europe’, International Organization, 61 (2007), 399442CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Citrin, Jack and Sides, John, ‘Immigration and the Imagined Community in Europe and the United States’, Political Studies, 56 (2008), 3356CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Sides, John and Citrin, Jack, ‘European Opinion about Immigration: The Role of Identities, Interests and Information’, British Journal of Political Science, 37 (2007), 477504CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Citrin, Jack, Green, Donald P., Muste, Christopher and Wong, Cara, ‘Public Opinion Toward Immigration Reform: The Role of Economic Motivations’, Journal of Politics, 59 (1997), 858881CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Mughan, Anthony and Paxton, Pamela, ‘Anti-Immigrant Sentiment, Policy Preferences and Populist Party Voting in Australia’, British Journal of Political Science, 36 (2006), 341358CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Fetzer, Joel S., Public Attitudes Toward Immigration in the United States, France, and Germany (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2000)Google Scholar; Sniderman, Paul M., Hagendoorn, Louk and Prior, Markus, ‘Predisposing Factors and Situational Triggers: Exclusionary Reactions to Immigrant Minorities’, American Political Science Review, 98 (2004), 3549CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

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6 There is a small number of studies that focus on immigrant political engagement in one or a few European countries or cities; see, e.g, Giugni, Marco and Passy, Florence, ‘Migrant Mobilization between Political Institutions and Citizenship Regimes: A Comparison of France and Switzerland’, European Journal of Political Research, 43 (2004), 5182CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Koopmans, Ruud, ‘Migrant Mobilization and Political Opportunities: Variation among German Cities and a Comparison with the United Kingdom and the Netherlands’, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 30 (2004), 449470CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Koopmans, Ruud and Statham, Paul, ‘Challenging the Liberal Nation-State? Postnationalism, Multiculturalism, and the Collective Claims-making of Migrants and Ethnic Minorities in Britain and Germany’, American Journal of Sociology, 105 (1999), 652696CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Togeby, Lise, ‘It Depends … How Organizational Participation Affects Political Participation and Social Trust Among Second-Generation Immigrants in Denmark’, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 30 (2004), 509528CrossRefGoogle Scholar. Comparative research based on systematic empirical analyses of data from a large number of countries, however, remains very limited.

7 See, e.g, Cassel, Carol A., ‘Hispanic Turnout: Estimates from Validated Voting Data’, Political Research Quarterly, 55 (2002), 391408CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Cho, Wendy K.T., ‘Naturalization, Socialization, Participation: Immigrants and Non(Voting)’, Journal of Politics, 61 (1999), 11401155Google Scholar; Cho, Wendy K.T., Gimpel, James G. and Dyck, Joshua J., ‘Residential Concentration, Political Socialization, and Voter Turnout’, Journal of Politics, 68 (2006), 156167CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Cho, Wendy K.T., Gimpel, James G. and Wu, Tony, ‘Clarifying the Role of SES in Political Participation: Policy Threat and Arab American Mobilization’, Journal of Politics, 68 (2006), 977991CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Bass, Loretta E. and Casper, Lynne M., ‘Impacting the Political Landscape: Who Registers and Votes among Naturalized Americans?’ Political Behavior, 23 (2001), 103130CrossRefGoogle Scholar; DeSipio, Louis, ‘Making Citizens or Good Citizens? Naturalization as a Predictor of Organizational and Electoral Behavior among Latino Immigrants’, Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, 18 (1996), 194213CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Arvizu, John R. and Garcia, Chris, ‘Latino Voting Participation: Explaining and Differentiating Latino Voting Turnout’, Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, 18 (1996), 104128CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Gimpel, James G., Tam Cho, Wendy K., and Wu, Tony, ‘Spatial Dimensions of Arab American Voter Mobilization After September 11’, Political Geography, 26 (2007), 330351CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Highton, Benjamin and Burris, Arthur L., ‘New Perspectives on Latino Voter Turnout in the United States’, American Politics Research, 30 (2002), 285306CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Jackson, Robert A., ‘Differential Influences on Latino Electoral Participation’, Political Behavior, 25 (2003), 339366CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Johnson, Martin, Stein, Robert M. and Wrinkle, Robert, ‘Language Choice, Residential Stability, and Voting among Latino Americans’, Social Science Quarterly, 84 (2003), 412424CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Pantoja, Adrian D., Ricardo Ramirez and Segura, Garry M., ‘Citizens by Choice, Voters by Necessity: Patterns in Political Mobilization by Naturalized Latinos’, Political Research Quarterly, 54 (2001), 729750CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Ramakrishnan, Karthick S. and Espenshade, Thomas J., ‘Immigrant Incorporation and Political Participation in the United States’, International Migration Review, 35 (2001), 870909CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Simpson Bueker, Catherine, ‘Political Incorporation Among Immigrants from Ten Areas of Origin: The Persistence of Source Country Effects’, International Migration Review, 39 (2005), 103140CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

8 Unless they were born to American parents on American territory abroad (e.g., military bases, embassies, and the like).

9 Weil, Patrick, ‘Access to Citizenship: A Comparison of Twenty Five Nationality Laws’, in T. Alexander Aleinikoff and Douglas Klusmeyer, eds, Citizenship Today: Global Perspectives and Practices (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Washington, D.C.), 1735Google Scholar; Morjé Howard, Marc, The Politics of Citizenship in Europe (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Brubaker, Rogers, Citizenship and Nationhood in France and Germany (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1992)Google Scholar.

10 This is the case even in studies that examine a broader range of political activities (see Junn, Jane, ‘Participation in Liberal Democracy: The Political Assimilation of Immigrants and Ethnic Minorities in the United States’, American Behavioral Scientist, 42 (1999), 14171438CrossRefGoogle Scholar). Leighley, Jan E. and Vedlitz, Arnold (‘Race, Ethnicity, and Political Participation: Competing Models and Contrasting Explanations’, Journal of Politics, 61 (1999), 10921114CrossRefGoogle Scholar) acknowledge the importance of citizenship, but also rely on native-born status as a proxy for citizenship, thus similarly leaving aside the fact that some foreign-born individuals are citizens.

11 DeSipio, ‘Making Citizens or Good Citizens?’ We do not mean to single out this particular study. Instead, we use it to illustrate a larger point. It has been similarly suggested that citizenship acquisition in Canada should have a ‘politicizing’ effect on political participation (see Black, Jerome H., ‘Immigrant Political Adaptation in Canada: Some Tentative Findings’, Canadian Journal of Political Science, 15 (1982), 327CrossRefGoogle Scholar), and this expectation is consistent with research showing that citizenship has a positive impact on partisanship acquisition (see Wong, Janelle S., ‘The Effects of Age and Political Exposure on the Development of Party Identification among Asian American and Latino Immigrants in the United States’, Political Behavior, 22 (2000), 341371CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Cain, Bruce E., Roderick Kiewiet, D. and Uhlaner, Carole J., ‘The Acquisition of Partisanship by Latinos and Asian Americans’, American Journal of Political Science, 35(1991), 390422CrossRefGoogle Scholar).

12 Junn, ‘Participation in Liberal Democracy’; Cho, ‘Naturalization, Socialization, Participation: Immigrants and Non(Voting)’; Ramakrishnan and Espenshade, ‘Immigrant Incorporation and Political Participation in the United States’, p. 888.

13 According to prevailing theorizing and evidence, this result is rooted in a lack of familiarity with the political system among individuals socialized in a different country and more shallow attachments to local community, associations and political parties. Moreover, foreign-born individuals usually have fewer emotional and material stakes in existing group tensions that express themselves in politics in their new home country. And there are practical reasons for the lower involvement of the foreign-born as well, as they are often preoccupied with settling into the new country and have less time for political involvement. Some assume that foreigners are less politically involved because they are more orientated towards politics in their homeland than are other immigrants. Empirical evidence suggests, however, that ties to a home country do not matter as much for political participation as attachment to the host country ( Lien, Pei-te, ‘Ethnicity and Political Participation: A Comparison between Asian and Mexican Americans’, Political Behavior, 16 (1994), 237264CrossRefGoogle Scholar). Moreover, others demonstrate that Mexican immigrants in the United States who send money home are actually more politically involved in US politics than those who do not ( Barreto, Matt A. and Muñoz, José A., ‘Reexamining the “Politics of In-Between”: Political Participation Among Mexican Immigrants in the United States’, Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, 25 (2003), 427447CrossRefGoogle Scholar).

14 While studies conducted in the United States and Denmark suggest that foreign-born citizens and non-citizens engage in a variety of political acts, the evidence is equivocal with regard to whether they do so at similar or different rates when immigrant experiences and socio-economic differences are accounted for. See Barreto and Muñoz, ‘Reexamining the “Politics of In-Between” ’; Togeby, ‘It Depends … Immigrants in Denmark’, Lien, ‘Ethnicity and Political Participation’; Leal, David, ‘Political Participation by Latino Non-Citizens in the United States’, British Journal of Political Science, 32 (2002), 353370CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

15 See, for instance, Deth, Jan W., Montero, José Ramón and Westholm, Anders, eds, Citizenship and Involvement in European Democracies: A Comparative Analysis (London: Routledge, 2007)Google Scholar; Pattie, Charles, Seyd, Patrick and Whiteley, Paul, Citizenship in Britain: Values, Participation and Democracy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Bloemraad, Irene, Korteweg, Anna and Yurdakul, Gökçe, ‘Citizenship and Immigration: Multiculturalism, Assimilation, and Challenges to the Nation-State’, Annual Review of Sociology, 34 (2008), 153179CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

16 Westholm, Anders, Montero, José Ramón and van Deth, Jan W., ‘Introduction: Citizenship, Involvement, and Democracy in Europe’, in van Deth, Montero and Westholm, eds, Citizenship and Involvement in European Democracies, pp. 1–32Google Scholar, at p. 3.

17 Dynneson, Thomas L., Civism: Cultivating Citizenship in European History (New York: Peter Lang, 2001)Google Scholar.

18 Bloemraad, Korteweg and Yurdakul, ‘Citizenship and Immigration’.

19 Benhabib, Seyla, ‘Political Theory and Political Membership in a Changing World’, in Ira Katznelson and Helen V. Milner, eds, Political Science: State of the Discipline (New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 2002), 404432Google Scholar.

20 In most countries, only citizens are eligible to vote. Citizens of EU member states have the right to vote in and stand for local elections in other EU member states if they reside there. However, this right is not conferred to non-EU citizens (also referred to as third-country nationals), nor does it apply to national elections.

21 Martinez, Lisa (‘Yes We Can: Latino Participation in Unconventional Politics’, Social Forces, 84 (2005), 135155CrossRefGoogle Scholar, p. 144) finds that citizenship has a positive and statistically significant impact on Latino protest behaviour in the United States and suggests that non-citizens might associate protesting with higher costs, such as fear of deportation or imprisonment. Her models, and models reported in other studies, however, fail to control for a number of immigrant-specific variables, such as the amount of time foreign-born respondents have spent in the United States. These variables, as we show below, have important consequences for the impact of citizenship on non-electoral participation.

22 Non-citizens may occasionally have important grounds to be politically involved in their host country. After all, regardless of their legal status, they are affected by their host country's domestic policies, not the least of which is anti-immigrant legislation (Barreto and Muñoz, ‘Reexamining the “Politics of In-Between” ’). Research also shows that non-citizens are often concerned with their host country's foreign policies towards their country of origin, thus motivating their political engagement ( de la Garza, Rodolfo O. and Pachon, Harry, Latinos and US Foreign Policy: Representing the “Homeland”? (Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2000)Google Scholar). Since non-citizens are barred from expressing themselves in national elections, non-electoral participation may be an important channel for communicating their demands to policy makers. However, we do not believe that such occasional motivations on average outweigh the more systematic effects of citizenship we posit.

23 As a consequence of the expected higher rate of participation by citizens, citizenship should also be associated with higher levels of civic skills acquired through the exercise of obligations and responsibilities, which are thought to contribute positively to people's civic orientations and political engagement through a process of socialization, education and interaction with government authorities ( Johnston Conover, Pamela, Crewe, Ivor M. and Searing, Donald D., ‘The Nature of Citizenship and Great Britain: Empirical Comments on Theoretical Themes’, Journal of Politics, 53 (1991), 800832CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Pamela Johnston Conover, Searing, Donald D. and Crewe, Ivor, ‘The Elusive Ideal of Equal Citizenship: Political Theory and Political Psychology in the United States and Great Britain’, Journal of Politics, 66 (2004), 10361068Google Scholar; Pattie, Seyd and Whiteley, Citizenship in Britain).

24 Barnes, Samuel and Kaase, Max with Allerbeck, Klaus, Farah, Barbara, Heunks, Felix, Inglehart, Ronald, Kent Jennings, M., Klingemann, Hans-Dieter, Marsh, Alan and Rosenmayr, Leopold, Political Action: Mass Participation in Five Western Democracies (Beverly Hills, Calif.: Sage, 1979)Google Scholar; Muller, Edward N., ‘A Test of a Partial Theory of Potential for Political Violence’, American Political Science Review, 66 (1972), 928959CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

25 Kaase, Max, ‘Mass Participation’, in M. Kent Jennings and Jan W. van Deth with Samuel Barnes, Dieter Fuchs, Felix Heunks, Ronald Inglehart, Max Kaase, Hans-Dieter Klingemann and Jacques Thomassen, eds, Continuities in Political Action: A Longitudinal Study of Political Orientations in Three Western Democracies (Berlin: de Gruyter, 1989), pp. 2364Google Scholar.

26 Ramakrishnan, Karthick S., Democracy in Immigrant America: Changing Demographics and Political Participation (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 2005)Google Scholar; Cho, Gimpel and Wu, ‘Clarifying the Role of SES in Political Participation’.

27 White, Stephen, Nevitte, Neil, Blais, André, Gidengil, Elisabeth and Fournier, Patrick, ‘The Political Resocialization of Immigrants’, Political Research Quarterly, 61 (2008), 268281CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Black, Jerome H., Richard Niemi and Powell, Bingham G., ‘Age and Resistance to Political Learning in a New Environment: The Case of Canadian Immigrants’, Comparative Politics, 20 (1987), 7384CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Ramakrishnan, Democracy in Immigrant America, p. 91.

28 Harles, John, Politics in the Lifeboat: Immigrants and the American Democratic Order (Boulder, Colo.: Westview, 1993)Google Scholar; Portes, Alejandro and Rumbaut, Rubén G., Immigrant America: A Portrait (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996)Google Scholar; Fennema, Meindert and Tillie, Jean, ‘Political Participation and Political Trust in Amsterdam: Civic Communities and Ethnic Networks’, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 25 (1999), 703726CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Handlin, Oscar, The Uprooted (Boston, Mass.: Little, Brown, 1951)Google Scholar.

29 Black, Jerome H., ‘The Practice of Politics in Two Settings: Political Transferability Among Recent Immigrants to Canada’, Canadian Journal of Political Science, 20 (1987), 731753CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Black, Niemi and Powell, ‘Age and Resistance to Political Learning in a New Environment’; Finifter, Ada and Finifter, Bernard, ‘Party Identification and Political Adaptation of American Migrants in Australia’, Journal of Politics, 51 (1989), 599630CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Bueker, ‘Political Incorporation among Immigrants from Ten Areas of Origin’; Wilson, Paul, Immigrants and Politics (Canberra: Australian National University Press, 1973)Google Scholar.

30 Occasionally, researchers have suggested that those raised in undemocratic environments may in fact be more politically involved in the receiving (democratic) country because they have a greater appreciation for democratic rights and opportunities to influence politics. For example, some point to the fact that Cuban Americans participate at higher rates than other Latino immigrants (Alejandro Portes and Rafael Mozo, ‘The Political Adaptation Process of Cubans and Other Ethnic Minorities in the United States: A Preliminary Analysis’, International Migration Review, 19 (1985), 35–63; Arvizu and Garcia, ‘Latino Voting Participation’; DeSipio, ‘Making Citizens or Good Citizens?’), or the behaviour of East Europeans who came to the United States and Canada during the Cold War ( Greeley, Andrew M., Ethnicity in the United States: A Preliminary Reconnaissance (New York: Wiley, 1974)Google Scholar; Black, ‘The Practice of Politics in Two Settings’). These contrasting perspectives may not be incompatible if the majority of immigrants from less democratic countries are political refugees. Having migrated for political reasons, refugees may possess a keener sense how politics impacts their daily lives (Ramakrishnan, Democracy in Immigrant America: Changing Demographics and Political Participation, p. 88; Portes and Mozo, ‘The Political Adaptation Process of Cubans and Other Ethnic Minorities in the United States’). Moreover, some argue that those who qualify for refugee assistance from government may develop greater skills and experience from interacting with government agencies and a greater stake in domestic politics as it relates to their continued receipt of such benefits (Ramakrishnan, Democracy in Immigrant America, p. 88). Yet others insist that even individuals who migrate from less to more democratic countries primarily for economic reasons might have an appreciation of democracy. For instance, Barreto and Muñoz (‘Reexamining the “Politics of In-Between” ’, p. 432) claim that Mexicans who arrived in the United States in the 1980s and 1990s were escaping not only a depressed economy but also a polity in which one-party rule had been the norm for 70 years (see also Massey, Douglas S., ‘Why Does Immigration Occur? A Theoretical Synthesis’, in Charles Hirschman, Philip Kasinitz and Josh DeWind, eds, The Handbook of International Migration: The American Experience (New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 1999), pp. 3452Google Scholar.

31 Caul Kittilson, Miki, ‘Research Resources in Comparative Political Behavior’, in Russell J. Dalton and Hans-Dieter Klingemann, eds., The Oxford Handbook of Political Behavior (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009), pp. 865899Google Scholar.

32 Further information on the ESS methodology is available on the ESS website and from the Norwegian Science Data Services ( and

33 We differentiated individuals by the following regions of origin: Africa, Asia, the Balkans, East Central Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, North America, Australia and New Zealand, and Western Europe. For more details about individual countries, please contact the authors.

34 Pooling data across countries is particularly useful for the purpose of our analyses because the number of foreign-born respondents in any one national survey is relatively small, making it difficult to estimate multivariate models of participation with much precision.

35 We dropped Poland and Hungary from the sample because they lacked variation on the citizenship variable: in Poland, all respondents were coded as citizens; in Hungary, there were only three (native-born) non-citizens.

36 Considering the diversity of countries and participatory acts, these items scale quite well, with a Cronbach's alpha of 0.69 among all respondents and 0.73 among foreigners (for details on question wording and variable coding, see Appendix).

37 We follow the distinction made by Barnes and Kaase (Political Action); see also Dalton, Russell J., Citizen Politics: Public Opinion and Political Parties in Advanced Industrial Democracies, 4th edn (Washington, D.C.: CQ Press, 2006)Google Scholar.

38 Because native-born non-citizens constituted only a very small number of cases (206), we dropped them from the analysis for statistical reasons.

39 Polity IV is a widely used dataset of regime characteristics that provides comparative data for virtually all countries in the world on an annual basis between 1800 and 2007.

40 The original polity score ranges from −10 to +10.

41 Cf. Snijders, Tom A. B. and Bosker, Roel, Multilevel Analysis: An Introduction to Basic and Advanced Multilevel Modeling (Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage, 1999)Google Scholar; for applications in political science, see Steenbergen, Marco R. and Jones, Bradford S., ‘Modeling Multilevel Data Structures’, American Journal of Political Science, 46 (2002), 218237CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

42 We sought to ensure the robustness of these inferences by examining whether our results were sensitive to the inclusion of any particular country; this was not the case.

43 Variables such as discrimination and criminal victimization may capture some of these experiences if they are more prevalent among immigrants than native-born individuals. Our data show that 15 per cent of foreign-born individuals report being a member of a group that is being discriminated against, while about 5 per cent of native-born individuals agree that this is the case. And about 21 per cent of native-born respondents report being the victim of a crime within the past five years, while about 22 per cent of foreign-born individuals say they have been the victim of a crime. Regardless of these statistics, because immigrants and non-immigrants share these experiences, they do not serve to separate these groups exclusively.

44 When we compare the impact of traditional explanations of political participation (socio-economic characteristics and civic attitudes) vis-à-vis more immigrant-specific variables, we find that the power of traditional explanations is not diminished by accounting for immigrants’ experiences. This demonstrates that understanding the immigrant experience complements rather than replaces existing explanations of political action. Interestingly, the ease with which citizens are able to acquire citizenship, as measured by the citizenship policy index, does not affect immigrants’ political engagement.

45 Highton and Burris, ‘New Perspectives on Latino Voter Turnout in the United States’, p. 290; Liang, Zai, ‘Social Contact, Social Capital and the Naturalization Process: Evidence from Six Immigrant Groups’, Social Science Research, 23 (1994), 407437CrossRefGoogle Scholar; see Lim, P., Barry-Goodman, Colleen and Branham, David, ‘Discrimination that Travels: How Ethnicity Affects Party Identification for Southeast Asian Immigrants’, Social Science Quarterly, 87 (2006), 11581170CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Uhlaner, Carole J., Cain, Bruce E. and Roderick Kiewiet, D., ‘Political Participation of Ethnic Minorities in the 1980s’, Political Behavior, 11 (1989), 195231CrossRefGoogle Scholar, p. 212; Pantoja, Ramirez and Segura, ‘Citizens by Choice, Voters by Necessity’, p. 735; Ramakrishnan and Espenshade, ‘Immigrant Incorporation and Political Participation in the United States’, p. 876. This perspective is consistent with previous research that employed citizenship as a proxy for commitment to host country (Black, ‘The Practice of Politics in Two Settings’; Black, Niemi and Powell, ‘Age and Resistance to Political Learning in a New Environment’).

46 Baum, Christopher F., An Introduction to Modern Econometrics Using Stata (College Station, Tex.: Stata Press, 2006)Google Scholar, chap. 8. Although it may seem at first glance that we have a case for a selection model, our theoretical model and data are not amenable to such statistical techniques. Specifically, a Heckman selection model operates on the assumption that only those who select themselves into a particular condition (e.g. citizenship) in the first stage have variation on the dependent variable in the second stage (e.g. political participation). The problem in the context of this study of political participation is that this assumption is applicable only to those forms of behaviour that are restricted to citizens (such as voting in national elections). This is not the case with non-electoral participation that is available to both citizens and non-citizens, and which is the focus of our analysis. Therefore, a Heckman selection model (or related approaches) is not applicable here.

47 Valid instruments have a significant partial correlation with citizenship, controlling for all the other determinants of political participation, while being uncorrelated with the error term in the model of political participation.

48 Yang, Philip Q., ‘Explaining Immigrant Naturalization,’ International Migration Review, 28 (1994), 449477CrossRefGoogle Scholar, pp. 457–8; see also Bueker, ‘Political Incorporation among Immigrants from Ten Areas of Origin’.

49 Weil, ‘Access to Citizenship’.

50 The United States Office of Personnel Management Investigations Service, Citizenship Laws of the World (The US Office of Personnel Management: Washington, DC, 2001).

51 This process, however, is not automatic – parents must register a child and request citizenship within a specific period of time (e.g., within five years in Belgium, or before the age of 22 in Switzerland).

52 Unfortunately, the ESS survey does not include a question measuring parents’ citizenship status – only their nativity status – and the foreign-born status of parents is of course only a proxy for parents’ citizenship. But given that many native-born parents might have acquired citizenship by birth or naturalization, this variable allows us to capture citizenship acquisition by descent at least to some extent.

53 Baum, , An Introduction to Modern Econometrics Using Stata, p. 191Google Scholar.

54 For a similar approach, see Gabel, Matthew and Scheve, Kenneth, ‘Estimating the Effect of Elite Communications on Public Opinion Using Instrumental Variables’, American Journal of Political Science, 51 (2007), 10131028CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

55 For more information, see the variable description in the Appendix.

56 See Arceneaux, Kevin and Nickerson, David W., ‘Modeling Certainty with Clustered Data: A Comparison of Methods’, Political Analysis, 7 (2009), 177190CrossRefGoogle Scholar. Note that, due to the inclusion of country fixed effects, identification in this model comes from within-country variation in immigrant background.

57 Hanushek, Eric A. and Jackson, John E., Statistical Methods for Social Scientists (San Diego, Calif.: Academic Press, 1977)Google Scholar, p. 101; see also Long Jusko, Karen and Phillips Shiveley, W., ‘Applying a Two-Step Strategy to the Analysis of Cross-National Public Opinion Data’, Political Analysis,13 (2005), 327344CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

58 The statistical significance of geographic distance is significantly reduced by the inclusion of a control for whether a foreigner comes from one of the EU-15 countries – a variable designed to distinguish between more and less desirable immigrants.

59 We hold other variables at their means and dichotomous variables at their medians; all country dummies, except Switzerland, are set to zero.

60 Morjé Howard, Marc, ‘Comparative Citizenship: An Agenda for Cross-National Research’, Perspectives on Politics, 4 (2006), 443455Google Scholar, p. 450.

61 Freeman, Gary P., ‘Modes of Immigration Politics in Liberal Democratic States’, International Migration Review, 29 (1995), 881913CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Joppke, Christian, ‘Why Liberal States Accept Unwanted Immigration’, World Politics, 50 (1998), 266293CrossRefGoogle Scholar; de Haas, Hein, ‘Turning the Tide? Why Development Will Not Stop Migration’, Development and Change, 38 (2007), 819841CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

62 Howard, , ‘Comparative Citizenship’, p. 451Google Scholar.

63 Green, Simon, ‘Beyond Ethnoculturalism? German Citizenship in the New Millenium’, German Politics, 9 (2000), 105124CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Morjé Howard, Marc, ‘The Causes and Consequences of Germany's New Citizenship Law’, German Politics, 17 (2008), 4162CrossRefGoogle Scholar. According to the German Nationality Act of 2000, children born in Germany to foreign parents acquire German citizenship at birth if at least one parent has had a legal residence permit in Germany for at least eight years. Children who acquire German citizenship in this way are allowed to hold dual citizenship until they reach maturity; they are required to choose between their German and foreign citizenship by the age of 23 ( Castles, Stephen and Davidson, Alastair, Citizenship and Migration: Globalization and the Politics of Belonging (Basingstoke, Hants.: Palgrave Macmillan, 2000)Google Scholar, p. 93).

64 Constant, Amelie, ‘Immigrant Adjustment in France and Impacts on the Natives’, in Klaus F. Zimmermann, ed., European Migration: What Do We Know? (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005), pp. 263302Google Scholar, at p. 275. These measures, however, were largely reversed in 1998 by the new Socialist government and policies have stayed the same since then ( Castles and Davidson, Citizenship and Migration, p. 92; Howard, The Politics of Citizenship in Europe, p. 152Google Scholar).

65 Howard, , ‘Comparative Citizenship’, pp. 450–1Google Scholar.

66 Howard, The Politics of Citizenship in Europe, see also Howard, ‘Comparative Citizenship’. Citizenship’ and Marc Morjé Howard, , ‘Variation in Dual Citizenship Policies in the Countries of the EU’, International Migration Review, 39 (2005), 697720CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

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Immigrants, Citizenship and Political Action in Europe
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