Varieties of attitudes to family migration in Europe
Immigration is a controversial topic that attracts much public attention. That is why a lot of resources are poured into understanding how people reason about policies concerning, for example, border control and immigrant integration. Yet, despite this effort, we still know relatively little about public attitudes towards the largest category of cross-border mobility: family migration. Individuals who enter a country in order to join a family member tend to be treated as a group in between work-related migration and international protection. Little is known about the specific trends, norms and logics that public opinion follows in this regard.
We aim to fill the described research gap by conducting so-called ‘conjoint survey experiments’ in eight European countries: Denmark, Germany, France, Ireland, Italy, Sweden, Spain and the United Kingdom. The method allows us to systematically capture attitudes towards both a person entering and the family member already residing in the country. This is achieved by presenting respondents with descriptions of fictitious combinations between immigrants and their corresponding family members. Conducting this type of survey in several countries at once allows us to study both individual-level determinants of public attitudes towards family migration as well as the societal context, particularly the combination of welfare and immigration systems in each country.