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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, pages 686-717.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:espost:227775
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. 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).
    2. Bredtmann, Julia, 2022. "Immigration and electoral outcomes: Evidence from the 2015 refugee inflow to Germany," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(C).
    3. 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.
    4. 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).
    5. 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.
    6. 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.

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