Immigration and public attitudes towards social assistance : evidence from Hong Kong

Shen YANG*, Bo MIAO, Alfred M. WU

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


The paper investigates the puzzling phenomenon of why Hong Kong citizens have much lower support for increasing spending on social assistance when all other welfare programs have been favored by local residents. With a random sampling survey, we find that citizens’ support towards raising the requirement of immigration is negatively correlated with their support for social assistance (the CSSA scheme). This study highlights that the perception of “who benefits” will influence citizens’ support for welfare spending. The Hong Kong story enriches the debate about the impact of citizens’ attitudes towards immigration on welfare spending against a backdrop of deglobalization and anti-immigration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)28-44
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Economic Policy Reform
Issue number1
Early online date13 Jul 2020
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information: This research was supported by Department of Asian and Policy Studies, Education University of Hong Kong; Shanghai Jiao Tong University Project WF220513006; the Ministry of Education of China Project 18YJC810010.


  • China
  • deglobalization
  • Hong Kong
  • Immigration
  • poverty
  • public attitudes


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