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Social Media and Xenophobia: Evidence from Russia

Author

Listed:
  • Leonardo Bursztyn
  • Georgy Egorov
  • Ruben Enikolopov
  • Maria Petrova

Abstract

We study the causal effect of social media on ethnic hate crimes and xenophobic attitudes in Russia using quasi-exogenous variation in social media penetration across cities. Higher penetration of social media led to more ethnic hate crimes, but only in cities with a high pre-existing level of nationalist sentiment. Consistent with a mechanism of coordination of crimes, the effects are stronger for crimes with multiple perpetrators. We implement a national survey experiment and show that social media persuaded young and low-educated individuals to hold more xenophobic attitudes, but did not increase respondents' openness to expressing these views. Our results are consistent with a simple model of social learning where penetration of social networks increases individuals' propensity to meet like-minded people.

Suggested Citation

  • Leonardo Bursztyn & Georgy Egorov & Ruben Enikolopov & Maria Petrova, 2019. "Social Media and Xenophobia: Evidence from Russia," NBER Working Papers 26567, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:26567
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Marco Manacorda & Andrea Tesei, 2016. "Liberation Technology: Mobile Phones and Political Mobilization in Africa," HiCN Working Papers 217, Households in Conflict Network.
    2. Marco Manacorda & Andrea Tesei, 2016. "Liberation Technology: Mobile Phones and Political Mobilization in Africa," HiCN Working Papers 217, Households in Conflict Network.
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    Cited by:

    1. Enikolopov, Ruben & Petrova, Maria & Zhuravskaya, Ekaterina, 2019. "Political Effects of the Internet and Social Media," CEPR Discussion Papers 13996, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D7 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making
    • H0 - Public Economics - - General
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination

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