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Contact versus Exposure: Refugee Presence and Voting for the Far Right


  • Andreas Steinmayr

    (University of Innsbruck, IZA, CESifo, and Immigration Policy Lab)


This paper investigates how different forms of exposure to refugees affect voting for Far Right parties. I study the state of Upper Austria where many municipalities hosted asylum seekers and also experienced a massive flow of refugees crossing into Germany in 2015. Exposure to refugees passing through border municipalities increased Far Right votes by about 1.5 percentage points, which suggests that mere exposure can increase Far Right support. Conversely, contact and sustained interactions between natives and asylum seekers in hosting municipalities decreased Far Right votes by about 4 percentage points, which is in line with the intergroup contact theory.

Suggested Citation

  • Andreas Steinmayr, 2021. "Contact versus Exposure: Refugee Presence and Voting for the Far Right," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 103(2), pages 310-327, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:103:y:2021:i:2:p:310-327
    DOI: 10.1162/rest_a_00922

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