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Can Television Reduce Xenophobia? The Case of East Germany

Author

Listed:
  • Lars Hornuf
  • Marc Oliver Rieger
  • Sven Hartmann

Abstract

Can television have a mitigating effect on xenophobia? To examine this question, we exploit the fact that individuals in some areas of East Germany - due to their geographic location - could not receive West German television until 1989. We conjecture that individuals who received West German television were exposed more frequently to foreigners and thus have developed less xenophobia than people who were not exposed to those programs. Our results show that regions that could receive West German television were less likely to vote for rightwing parties during the national elections from 1994 to 2017. Only recently, the same regions were also more likely to vote for left-wing parties. Moreover, while counties that hosted more foreigners in 1989 were more probable to vote for right-wing parties in most elections, we find that counties that recently hosted more foreign visitors showed less xenophobia, which is in line with intergroup contact theory.

Suggested Citation

  • Lars Hornuf & Marc Oliver Rieger & Sven Hartmann, 2017. "Can Television Reduce Xenophobia? The Case of East Germany," CESifo Working Paper Series 6632, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_6632
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    File URL: https://www.cesifo-group.de/DocDL/cesifo1_wp6632.pdf
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    Cited by:

    1. Viktor Slavtchev & Michael Wyrwich, 2017. "TV and Entrepreneurship," Jena Economic Research Papers 2017-007, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    mass media; television; xenophobia; attitudes towards foreigners; East Germany; natural experiment;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • L82 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Entertainment; Media
    • P30 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Institutions and Their Transitions - - - General

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