Fearing the “Nicas”: Perceptions of Immigrants and Policy Choices in Costa Rica

Academic Article


  • AbstractDo attitudes toward immigrants shape public policy preferences? To answer this question, this article analyzes a prominent example of South-South migration: the Nicaraguan immigrant community in Costa Rica. Over the past two decades, Costa Rica has experienced extensive socioeconomic changes, and Nicaraguans have been frequent scapegoats for the fears and worries generated by these changes. Relying on the 2014 AmericasBarometer survey, this analysis finds that respondents who perceive immigrants as an economic threat are significantly more supportive of punitive crime control policies. Attitudes toward immigrants were also significantly linked to support for government policies to reduce income inequality. However, given the historically strong support for the Costa Rican social welfare state, attitudes toward immigrants did not significantly affect support for government services.
  • Authors


    Publication Date

  • February 2019
  • Keywords

  • Basic Behavioral and Social Science
  • Behavioral and Social Science
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Start Page

  • 1
  • End Page

  • 28
  • Volume

  • 61
  • Issue

  • 1