Date of Award

Summer 8-15-2017

Author's School

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Author's Department

Political Science

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Type



Understanding the causes of immigrant integration is critical, as its failure can pose substantial economic and social costs for natives and immigrants alike. In this dissertation, I explore the role of local politics and immigrant demographics in explaining variation in immigrant integration across localities. In the first chapter, I develop a theory linking local politics to immigrant integration. Specifically, I argue that when local governing parties have anti-immigrant ideologies, integration becomes more difficult. I test this argument using data from refugees entering Denmark between 1986 and 1998. These refugees were spatially dispersed across Denmark's 275 municipalities, allowing me to identify the effect of local government. The second chapter investigates the role of intra-immigrant diversity in promoting integration. I argue that natives are less likely to negatively stereotype diverse groups of immigrants, reducing anti-immigrant attitudes and discrimination. Experimental and observational evidence support this argument. Experimentally, I conducted a conjoint survey on a sample of 2,130 Germans to show the link between diversity and anti-immigrant attitudes. Observationally, I use data on immigrant diversity and immigrant unemployment to show diversity's beneficial effect on integration. The final chapter examines natives' attitudes toward young immigrant men. Leveraging the same conjoint survey as above, I show that immigrant groups with many young men provoke substantial opposition. Further tests reveal that this opposition is due to the security and cultural threats provoked by young men. These findings have implications for our understanding of integration, of attitudes toward immigrants, and of the consequences of immigrant settlement patterns.


English (en)

Chair and Committee

Margit Tavits

Committee Members

Michael Bechtel, Matthew Gabel, Dominik Hangartner, Betsy Sinclair,


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