Job Market Paper

Immigrant Enfranchisement and Integration: Evidence from Italy (with Francesco Ferlenga)

We study the consequences of immigrant enfranchisement by exploiting Romania’s accession to the EU in 2007, which granted municipal election voting rights to Romanian immigrants in Italy. We conduct an event-study analysis at the municipality-by-year level and reach three key findings. First, we find that the enfranchisement of Romanian immigrants leads to an increase in the likelihood of electing a Romanian-born councilor in municipal elections, with higher increases for municipalities expecting a competitive election. Using an instrumented difference-in-differences approach, we find the increase in representation is driven by enfranchisement of the preexisting population and not by new Romanian arrivals following the accession. Second, we find that social capital among Romanian immigrants increases after 2007, indicating that the effect of enfranchisement extends beyond political representation to integration. However, despite the increase in representation and social capital, we find that immigrant presence increases the likelihood of a right-leaning party victory, raises municipal spending on public security, and lowers spending on social programs. This suggests that natives’ backlash against immigrant presence plays a bigger role in determining the winning party than the existence of a newly enfranchised immigrant community.

Working Papers

Origin Country Information and Immigrant Behavior: Evidence from the COVID-19 Pandemic in the U.S.

I exploit the timing of COVID-19 outbreaks across immigrants' origin countries to study their behavioral responses to new developments in their origin countries. By conducting shift-share panel regressions, I find that an increase in the percentage of population infected with COVID-19 in the origin country leads to an increase in the average level of social distancing for the relevant immigrant group in the United States. Further, I perform an event study around the date national emergency was declared in the United States to study the interactive role played by the country of residence. I find that immigrants whose origin countries faced an outbreak before the U.S. increase their level of social distancing immediately after the declaration of national emergency in the U.S. That is, the information from the origin country translates into behavioral outcomes for immigrants when it becomes pertinent in their country of residence. Using Facebook connectedness index and Google search trends, I find that real-time transmission of information through the internet is a likely driving force of my findings.

Ideology Backlash: Anticommunist Education and Ideology in South Korea

I investigate the long-term impact of anticommunist education in South Korea on individuals’ political preferences during the years 1954-1987. Based on the individual’s year of birth, I exploit the variation in years of exposure to anticommunist education. I examine the relationship between the duration of exposure to anticommunist education and the individuals’ views on North Korea as well as their politico-economic values. I find that more years of anticommunist education result in individuals identifying themselves with ideas and values that oppose anticommunism. These findings suggest that anticommunist education in South Korea has backfired in the long run. This paper is the first to find a backlash to ideological education over an extended period.