What Do Europeans Think About Muslim Immigration?

Here’s the link. I don’t usually cover this sort of stuff, but I have quoted extensively from the report below because this is some nice data, and nice data sometimes disappear from the internet if you don’t copy it in time.

The sample sizes here are large (“The total number of respondents was 10,195 (c. 1,000 per country).”) and a brief skim of the wiki article about Chatham House hardly gives the impression that this is an extreme right-wing think tank with a hidden agenda (for example Hilary Clinton received the Chatham House Prize just a few years ago). Data was gathered online, which of course might lead to slightly different results than offline data procurement strategies, but if anything this to me seems to imply that the opposition seen in the data might more likely be a lower bound estimate than an upper bound estimate; older people, rural people and people with lower education levels are all more opposed than their counterparts, according to the data, and these people are less likely to be online, so they should probably all else equal be expected if anything to be under-sampled in a data set relying exclusively on data provided online. Note incidentally that if you wanted to you could probably sort of infer some implicit effect sizes; e.g. by comparing the differences relating to age and education, it seems that age is the far more important variable, at least if your interest is in the people who agree with the statement provided by Chatham House (of course when you only have data like this you should be very careful about making inferences about the importance of specific variables, but I can’t help noting here that part of the education variable/effect may just be a hidden age effect; I’m reasonably certain education levels have increased over time in all countries surveyed).

“Drawing on a unique, new Chatham House survey of more than 10,000 people from 10 European states, we can throw new light on what people think about migration from mainly Muslim countries. […] respondents were given the following statement: ‘All further migration from mainly Muslim countries should be stopped’. They were then asked to what extent did they agree or disagree with this statement. Overall, across all 10 of the European countries an average of 55% agreed that all further migration from mainly Muslim countries should be stopped, 25% neither agreed nor disagreed and 20% disagreed.

Majorities in all but two of the ten states agreed, ranging from 71% in Poland, 65% in Austria, 53% in Germany and 51% in Italy to 47% in the United Kingdom and 41% in Spain. In no country did the percentage that disagreed surpass 32%.”


“Public opposition to further migration from Muslim states is especially intense in Austria, Poland, Hungary, France and Belgium, despite these countries having very different sized resident Muslim populations. In each of these countries, at least 38% of the sample ‘strongly agreed’ with the statement. […]  across Europe, opposition to Muslim immigration is especially intense among retired, older age cohorts while those aged below 30 are notably less opposed. There is also a clear education divide. Of those with secondary level qualifications, 59% opposed further Muslim immigration. By contrast, less than half of all degree holders supported further migration curbs.”


“Of those living in rural, less populated areas, 58% are opposed to further Muslim immigration. […] among those based in cities and metropolitan areas just over half agree with the statement and around a quarter are less supportive of a ban. […] nearly two-thirds of those who feel they don’t have control over their own lives [supported] the statement. Similarly, 65% of those Europeans who are dissatisfied with their life oppose further migration from Muslim countries. […] These results chime with other surveys exploring attitudes to Islam in Europe. In a Pew survey of 10 European countries in 2016, majorities of the public had an unfavorable view of Muslims living in their country in five countries: Hungary (72%), Italy (69%), Poland (66%), Greece (65%), and Spain (50%), although those numbers were lower in the UK (28%), Germany (29%) and France (29%). There was also a widespread perception in many countries that the arrival of refugees would increase the likelihood of terrorism, with a median of 59% across ten European countries holding this view.”

February 15, 2017 Posted by | current affairs, data, demographics | Leave a comment

The neutrino velocity thing

Here’s the paper, go have fun if you’re into that kind of thing. Here’s one non-sensationalist take on it. I love how they’ve just put all this stuff ‘out there’ for everyone to see and criticise – open science is the only kind of science worth anything.

I have naturally no idea what’s the cause of the results, but my first guess would be the existence of some measurement error they’ve been unaware of. I think it’s a bit funny how a lot of ‘average Joes’ have decided to leave comments on the badastronomy post with more or less fleshed-out ideas as to what’s driving the results, probably posted after at most five minutes of thought on the matter – given that a lot of very, very smart people have spent a lot of time doing these tests and thinking long and hard for days, weeks, months about the test designs and how to improve them. Yeah, they most likely missed some source of uncertainty in the analysis, but you’re probably not the guy who’s going to figure out what it is. Most of the Average Joes commenting aren’t Swiss patent office clerks, and he thought about the stuff for years before he ‘went public’ anyway.

Oh yeah, remember to apply the Sagan Standard here. I know the journalists covering this sure aren’t.

September 23, 2011 Posted by | current affairs, Physics | Leave a comment

A comment

I generally don’t do current affairs/society stuff anymore, but I decided to make an exception here. So yeah.

Ok, in my experience most people living in Western, modern societies often don’t take very seriously political demands for more basic personal security and really basic property rights enforcement stuff (stuff like being able to walk around freely on the street without getting mugged, raped or shot, the ability to be able to park your car somewhere without running the risk that it might be stolen or burned down by the time you come back, the ability of a shopkeeper to feel secure enough that he won’t have to take extreme measures to make sure his shop is not smashed by looters) sometimes – but not very often, granted – voiced by people who want more of it. It is quite common to see people discard such demands by using loaded terms like ‘fascism’ or ‘police state’.

Here are some images from the London riots:

How do you think the owner of the shop in the last picture feels like right now?

Here are a couple of pictures from Greece:

So first, it’s much easier to act nicely in a society where everything is going well and property rights are enforced and all the rest of it than it is in a society where this is not the case. Lots of people living in such a nice society tend to forget this time and again – and when there’s geographic variation in these variables people tend to forget this and only argue based on the conditions they know well and are familiar with. So for example Danes tend to make value-judgments about the behaviour of Indians living in India based on how they think they’d behave if they were Indians living in Denmark, rather than Danes living in India. Or say people who live in Gentofte, who might have a hard time imagining that there are some places in Denmark where the police generally don’t go and where it’s not at all safe to walk around alone in the evening, and therefore reject out of hand some of the demands made by people who in fact do live in such areas.

When society is basically in something like a relatively-low-violence, things-go-well equilibrium people generally behave nicely – but that’s not necessarily because they are ‘better people’ in any semi-objective sense. It’s also because the incentives look very different in the two states. If two guys try to loot a shop in a medium-sized Danish town Wednesday at noon, what’ll happen is that the shop-owner will call the police, the police will come and the looters will get arrested unless they run away very fast. However when 500 people try to loot fifty different shops all over town, the equation looks different. There’s a much smaller risk of getting caught if you do illegal stuff, and if you don’t act now you’ll miss the opportunity because either order will be restored or the shops will be empty. Perhaps both. Perhaps you lost your job and there’s a risk you’ll go hungry if you don’t loot/steal because you can’t afford the food on sale, which is incidentally much more expensive than it used to be because shop-owners aren’t paid what the goods costs to procure/produce/sell (because of the frequent thefts and looting). No, the wealth effects are not that pronounced in Britain, what’s going on there is more along the lines of: ‘hey, if I act now I can get a free flatscreen TV!’

Everybody can act nicely in a nice society where everything is going well. But getting to that point is hard, it takes a lot of effort on the institutional and societal level – and once the equilibrium is breached, it takes a lot to get back on track because of the feed-back mechanisms at work. I could also have mentioned or posted pictures from the Katrina-aftermatch. The gains from cooperation are huge but so are the gains from defection. The political system incidentally is one big mixed bag of the two; some valid public goods are produced along the way (not that many), but there are also plenty of schemes where groups try to steal left and right from each other, and there’s so much stealing and obfuscation going on that many people have a hard time even telling if they come out ahead or not.

An equilibrium where the institutional setup overshoots in response to stuff like this is an equilibrium where you risk fascism and a police state. But remember pictures like the above and try to figure how you’d react if it was your shop or your car next time somebody brings up fascism. Most fascists weren’t in fact horrible people just waiting to kill all those Untermenschen. Most people actually don’t much care about that kind of stuff until they no longer have it, then they start to care a lot – a common theme in the real-world political theatre is that the ‘law and order’ stance always gets quite popular once law and order is gone.

August 9, 2011 Posted by | current affairs | 9 Comments

Tomorrow a new country will be born

The southern part of Sudan will obtain independence.

They have a long road ahead of them:

“I visited South Sudan with Unicef earlier this year, and it would be difficult to imagine a country more in need of intensive care. As hundreds of thousands of displaced people flood across the border, wanting to get back to the south before separation, there is nowhere for them to go and no services to support them. Families set up makeshift homes under a tree, with only the branches for shelter.

International agencies like Unicef are working hard to sink boreholes, train teachers, build hospitals, improve immunisation rates, but they are starting from next to nothing: South Sudan has one of the highest infant-mortality rates and lowest education indicators in the world. There is only one children’s hospital in the country, one child in 10 dies before their first birthday, and fewer than 1% of girls finish their primary education.

To make matters so much worse, the insidious Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), which has been pushed north out of Uganda, regularly carries out raids on South Sudan villages, killing adults and kidnapping children who are then forced to join the marauders or become their slaves, often being made to murder their own family or friends so that escape and return to their villages becomes impossible. The brave South Sudanese have formed themselves into groups of “arrow boys” to defend their villages using homemade bows and arrows, but they have limited effect against the guns and horses of the LRA.” …

July 8, 2011 Posted by | Africa, current affairs | Leave a comment