Relative Deprivation and Relative Wealth Enhances Anti-Immigrant Sentiments: The V-Curve Re-Examined

Jetten, Jolanda, Mols, Frank and Postmes, Tom (2015) Relative Deprivation and Relative Wealth Enhances Anti-Immigrant Sentiments: The V-Curve Re-Examined. PLoS One, 10 10: e0139156.1-e0139156.24. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0139156

Author Jetten, Jolanda
Mols, Frank
Postmes, Tom
Title Relative Deprivation and Relative Wealth Enhances Anti-Immigrant Sentiments: The V-Curve Re-Examined
Journal name PLoS One   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1932-6203
Publication date 2015-10-01
Year available 2015
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0139156
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 10
Issue 10
Start page e0139156.1
End page e0139156.24
Total pages 24
Place of publication San Francisco, CA United States
Publisher Public Library of Science
Collection year 2016
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Previous research has shown that negative attitudes towards immigrants and support for anti-immigrant parties are observed both among those experiencing relative deprivation and those experiencing relative gratification (so called v-curve). Whereas the effect of relative deprivation is intuitive, the effect of relative gratification is more difficult to explain. Why would economic prosperity provoke negative attitudes towards immigrants? We first present correlational (Study 1) and experimental (Study 2) support for the v-curve. In Study 1, in a national Swiss referendum, a higher percentage anti-immigrant voting was found in cantons with relatively lower and relatively higher relative disposable income. In Study 2, in a hypothetical society, more opposition to ‘newcomers’ joining society was found among poor or above average wealth group members than among those in a moderate wealth group condition. In Study 3, we replicate this finding and also show that opposition to immigration is higher for all wealth groups when societal inequality is growing rather than declining. In a final study, we examine different forms of relative gratification and mediators of the relationship between relative gratification and opposition to immigration (i.e., identification, collective self-definition as competent and cold, and fear about future wealth). Only fear about future wealth mediates this relationship. We conclude that, paradoxically, relative gratification effects are partly due to the fear of future deprivation.
Keyword Social Identity
Western Europe
Group Position
Extreme Right
Intergroup Discrimination
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2016 Collection
School of Political Science and International Studies Publications
School of Psychology Publications
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