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Income comparisons and attitudes towards foreigners - Evidence from a natural experiment

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  • Hyll, Walter
  • Schneider, Lutz

Abstract

We exploit a natural experiment related to the German re-unification to address whether disutility from income comparisons affects attitudes towards foreigners. Our empirical approach rests upon East German individuals with West German relatives and friends. We use the exogenous variation of wealth of West Germans shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall as an instrument to identify the effect of disutility from income comparisons on East Germans’ attitudes. We find robust evidence that East Germans express more negative attitudes towards foreigners, particularly from low-wage countries, if they worry about their economic status compared to better-off West Germans.

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  • Hyll, Walter & Schneider, Lutz, 2018. "Income comparisons and attitudes towards foreigners - Evidence from a natural experiment," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 634-655.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jcecon:v:46:y:2018:i:2:p:634-655
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jce.2017.11.008
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    Cited by:

    1. Eiji Yamamura, 2021. "Where do I rank? Am I happy?: learning income position and subjective-wellbeing in an internet experiment," Papers 2107.11185, arXiv.org.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Relative deprivation; Economic integration; Immigration; Natural Experiment; East Germany;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • P36 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Institutions and Their Transitions - - - Consumer Economics; Health; Education and Training; Welfare, Income, Wealth, and Poverty

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