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Strangers in Hostile Lands: Exposure to Refugees and Right-Wing Support in Germany’s Eastern Regions

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  • Schaub, Max
  • Gereke, Johanna
  • Baldassarri, Delia

Abstract

Does local exposure to refugees increase right-wing support? This paper studies a case uniquely suited to address this question: the allocation of refugees to the rural hinterlands of eastern Germany during the European refugee crisis. Similar to non-urban regions elsewhere, the area has had minimal previous exposure to foreigners, but distinctively leans towards the political right. Our data comprise electoral outcomes, and individual-level survey and behavioral measures. A policy allocating refugees following strict administrative rules and a matching procedure allow for causal identification. Our measurements confirm the presence of widespread anti-immigrant sentiments. However, these are unaffected by the presence of refugees in respondents’ hometowns: on average, we record null effects for all outcomes, which we interpret as supporting a sociotropic perspective on immigration attitudes. Masked by these overall null findings, we observe convergence: local exposure to refugees appears to have pulled both right- and left-leaning individuals more towards the center.

Suggested Citation

  • Schaub, Max & Gereke, Johanna & Baldassarri, Delia, 2021. "Strangers in Hostile Lands: Exposure to Refugees and Right-Wing Support in Germany’s Eastern Regions," EconStor Open Access Articles and Book Chapters, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, vol. 54(3-4), pages 686-717.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:espost:227775
    DOI: 10.1177/0010414020957675
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    Cited by:

    1. Albarosa, Emanuele & Elsner, Benjamin, 2023. "Forced Migration and Social Cohesion: Evidence from the 2015/16 Mass Inflow in Germany," IZA Discussion Papers 15850, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    2. Hangartner, Dominik & Sarvimäki, Matti & Spirig, Judith, 2021. "Managing Refugee Protection Crises: Policy Lessons from Economics and Political Science," IZA Discussion Papers 14821, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    3. Bredtmann, Julia, 2022. "Immigration and electoral outcomes: Evidence from the 2015 refugee inflow to Germany," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(C).
    4. Prömel, Christopher, 2023. "Belonging or estrangement—The European Refugee Crisis and its effects on immigrant identity," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 78(C).
    5. Kai Barron & Heike Harmgart & Steffen Huck & Sebastian O. Schneider & Matthias Sutter, 2023. "Discrimination, Narratives, and Family History: An Experiment with Jordanian Host and Syrian Refugee Children," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 105(4), pages 1008-1016, July.
    6. Emanuele Albarosa & Benjamin Elsner, 2023. "Forced Migration and Social Cohesion: Evidence from the 2015/16 Mass Inflow in Germany," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 1183, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    7. Albarosa, E. & Elsner, B., 2023. "Forced Migration and Social Cohesion: Evidence from the 2015/16 Mass Inflow in Germany," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 167(C).
    8. Giesselmann, Marco & Brady, David & Naujoks, Tabea, 2021. "The social consequences of the increase in refugees to Germany 2015-2016," Discussion Papers, Research Professorship Inequality and Social Policy SP I 2021-502, WZB Berlin Social Science Center.
    9. Albarosa,Emanuele & Elsner,Benjamin, 2022. "Forced Migration, Social Cohesion and Conflict: The 2015 Refugee Inflow in Germany," Policy Research Working Paper Series 9913, The World Bank.
    10. Wouter van der Brug & Katjana Gattermann & Claes H. de Vreese, 2022. "Electoral responses to the increased contestation over European integration. The European Elections of 2019 and beyond," European Union Politics, , vol. 23(1), pages 3-20, March.
    11. Zhou, Yang-Yang & Grossman, Guy & Ge, Shuning, 2023. "Inclusive refugee-hosting can improve local development and prevent public backlash," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 166(C).
    12. Schilling, Pia & Stillman, Steven, 2021. "The Impact of Natives' Attitudes Towards Immigrants on Their Integration in the Host Country," IZA Discussion Papers 14728, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).

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