Disentangling the Causal Relations of Perceived Group Threat and Outgroup Derogation: Cross-National Evidence from German and Russian Panel Surveys

Posted: 5 Aug 2009

See all articles by elmar schlueter

elmar schlueter

WZB Berlin Social Science Center

Peter Schmidt

University of Giessen; National Research University Higher School of Economics

Ulrich Wagner

University of Marburg - Faculty of Psychology

Date Written: December 2008

Abstract

Despite the resurgence of interest in group threat theory for explaining negative interethnic relations, adequate empirical evidence on the causal ordering of perceived group threat and outgroup derogation is still missing. In the literature, three theoretical perspectives concerning this issue have been raised. The predominating view assumes that perceived group threat is a causal antecedent to outgroup derogation. Contrary to this perspective, a second theoretical model conceptualizes perceived group threat to be a consequence of prior levels of outgroup derogation. Alternatively, a third theoretical perspective suggests to consider the causal relations between perceived group threat and outgroup derogation to be reciprocal. In this article, we conduct a longitudinal test of these competing theoretical models drawing upon cross-national multiwave panel surveys from Germany and Russia. Using latent autoregressive cross-lagged models, we find that perceptions of threatened group interests are causally antecedent to German's dislike and negative behavioural intentions against foreigners as well as to Russian's ethnic distance towards minorities. The data provide no support for the two alternative models. Findings are discussed with regard to its meaning for group threat theory.

Suggested Citation

schlueter, elmar and Schmidt, Peter and Wagner, Ulrich, Disentangling the Causal Relations of Perceived Group Threat and Outgroup Derogation: Cross-National Evidence from German and Russian Panel Surveys (December 2008). European Sociological Review, Vol. 24, Issue 5, pp. 567-581, 2008. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1444225 or http://dx.doi.org/jcn029

Elmar Schlueter (Contact Author)

WZB Berlin Social Science Center ( email )

Reichpietschufer 50
D-10785 Berlin, 10785
Germany

Peter Schmidt

University of Giessen ( email )

Betriebswirtschaftslehre VII
Giessen, WY 35394
Germany

National Research University Higher School of Economics

Myasnitskaya street, 20
Moscow, Moscow 119017
Russia

Ulrich Wagner

University of Marburg - Faculty of Psychology ( email )

Gutenbergstr. 18
35032 Marburg
Germany

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