Anti-American Behavior in the Middle East
40 Pages Posted: 12 Jun 2014
Date Written: March 26, 2014
Based on public opinion data, Anti-Americanism of one form or another is endemic in the Middle East. This paper examines the extent to which hostility generalizes beyond opposition to American foreign policy but is unique to the United States. It fields an experiment in Lebanon that manipulates the putative sponsor of a survey and draws on a simple behavioral outcome: do people refuse to be interviewed based on who they think is asking the questions? Results show that academic sponsors do not affect participation rates, but that refusals spike under government sponsorship of multiple nationalities -- behavioral patterns which replicate in communities that vary widely in their a priori levels of hostility to the United States. Ironically, systematic opt-outs by political opponents make people in the government conditions appear more rather than less supportive of U.S.-favored policies compared to their peers in the other treatment groups.
Keywords: anti-Americanism, experiment, Lebanon, Middle East
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