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British nationals’ preferences over who gets to be a citizen according to a choice-based conjoint experiment

Donnaloja, Victoria (2022) British nationals’ preferences over who gets to be a citizen according to a choice-based conjoint experiment. European Sociological Review, 38 (2). 202 - 218. ISSN 0266-7215

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Identification Number: 10.1093/esr/jcab034


This article contributes new evidence about the types of immigrants that British nationals would accept as fellow citizens. I analyse the preferences of a large, nationally representative UK sample employing a choice-based conjoint-analysis experiment. Respondents were presented with paired vignettes of applicant types characterized by a combination of attributes chosen randomly. The attributes of immigrants with the largest impact on the probability of granting citizenship were occupation and religion: respondents especially penalized applicants who were Muslim or with no occupation. Respondents granted citizenship at different rates on average (from 64 per cent to 80 per cent): rates were lower among respondents who had voted to leave the EU, were older, less educated, and earned less. The types of immigrant who were most likely to be granted citizenship did not, however, vary by respondents’ income, education, or age, and varied little between Brexit Leave and Remain voters. My findings about nationals’ citizen preferences reflect the inclusive–exclusive nature of British citizenship and national identity, whereby inclusion is conditional on productivity and on the endorsement of liberal values.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2021 The Author
Divisions: Social Policy
Subjects: J Political Science > JV Colonies and colonization. Emigration and immigration. International migration
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Date Deposited: 10 Sep 2021 10:21
Last Modified: 23 May 2024 22:12

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