Research on Finnish Society


Explaining temporal trends and regional variation in attitudes towards foreign workers: group conflict theory and Finland 1990–2013

Elina Kilpi-Jakonen
University of Turku


This article explores a dynamic version of group conflict theory as an explanation for develop- ments over time as well as regional differences in attitudes towards foreign workers in Finland in the period 1990–2013. In particular, it is argued that recent changes in potential for conflict are more likely to affect attitudes than are their levels. The results confirm this as it is both change in the rate of growth of the foreign population and possibly change in unemployment that tend to have an effect on attitudes, whereas the size of the foreign population and the level of unemployment do not. These change measures tend to have an effect at the national rather than the regional level. On the other hand, regional differences are not explained by any of the contextual variables tested. The data used at the individual level is a pooled data set (N=28,135) of 13 EVA Surveys on Finnish Values and Attitudes.

Keywords: Group conflict theory, attitudes towards foreign workers, longitudinal analysis, regional analysis, Finland

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