Daniel Herda's article "Too Many Immigrants? Examining Alternative forms of Immigrant Population Innumeracy" accepted for publication at Sociological Perspectives.
Many citizens of Western nations react negatively to the presence of immigrants, supporting laws like Arizona’s SB 1070 or far right, anti-immigration political candidates. The current study focuses on immigrant population innumeracy as a possible factor that contributes to support for such exclusionary measures. It introduces an alternative innumeracy operationalization and theorizes its association with immigrant exclusionism based on cognitive availability and affect heuristics. Using data from the 2002 European Social Survey, the analysis demonstrates that innumeracy is a highly nuanced phenomenon with both over and underestimation occurring commonly across countries. Multilevel regression results indicate that innumeracy based on cognitive availability heuristics is largely innocuous. Conversely, affect heuristic strategies are responsible for much of the association between innumeracy and exclusionary policy preferences. Despite this, significant associations remain net of all controls, suggesting that innumeracy may be more important than indicated by previous research.