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Minority Salience and Political Extremism

Author

Listed:
  • Tommaso Colussi

    (Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore
    Dipartimento di Economia e Finanza, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore)

  • Ingo Isphording
  • Nico Pestel

Abstract

We investigate how changes in the salience of a minority group affect the majority group’s voting behavior. Specifically, we focus on Muslim communities and their increased salience in daily life during Ramadan. To estimate a causal effect, we exploit exogenous variation in the distance of German federal and state elections to the month of Ramadan over the 1980–2013 period. Our findings reveal an increased polarization of the electorate: vote shares for both right- and left-wing extremist parties increase in municipalities where mosques are located when the election date is closer to Ramadan. We use individual-level survey data to provide evidence on potential mechanisms. During Ramadan respondents perceive the share of foreign-born people living in their country as larger and reveal more negative attitudes towards Muslims. We complement these findings with evidence on increased numbers of violent attacks against Muslim communities shortly after Ramadan.

Suggested Citation

  • Tommaso Colussi & Ingo Isphording & Nico Pestel, 2019. "Minority Salience and Political Extremism," DISCE - Working Papers del Dipartimento di Economia e Finanza def080, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Dipartimenti e Istituti di Scienze Economiche (DISCE).
  • Handle: RePEc:ctc:serie1:def080
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Salience; Muslims; Behavioral Political Economy; Right-Wing Extremism.;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making

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