Minority Salience and Political Extremism

57 Pages Posted: 27 Dec 2016

See all articles by Tommaso Colussi

Tommaso Colussi

IZA

Ingo E. Isphording

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Nico Pestel

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Abstract

This paper studies electoral effects of exposure to religious minorities in the context of Muslim communities in Germany. Using unique data on mosques' construction and election results across municipalities over the period 1980-2013, we find that the presence of a mosque increases political extremism. To establish causality, we exploit arguably exogenous variation in the distance of the election date to the month of Ramadan, when Muslim communities become more visible to the general public. Our findings show that vote shares for both right- and left-wing extremist parties become larger when the election date is closer to Ramadan. We additionally show that the change in minority salience also increases the likelihood of politically motivated crimes against Muslims.

Keywords: minority salience, Muslims, voting, conflict

JEL Classification: D72, D74, J15

Suggested Citation

Colussi, Tommaso and Isphording, Ingo E. and Pestel, Nico, Minority Salience and Political Extremism. IZA Discussion Paper No. 10417. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2889663

Ingo E. Isphording

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Nico Pestel

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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