Can Television Reduce Xenophobia? The Case of East Germany

78 Pages Posted: 29 Jul 2020

See all articles by Lars Hornuf

Lars Hornuf

Technische Universität Dresden; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Marc Oliver Rieger

University of Trier

Sven A. Hartmann

Institute for Labour Law and Industrial Relations in the European Union (IAAEU)

Date Written: July 7, 2020

Abstract

Can television have a mitigating effect on xenophobia? To explore this question, we investigate a natural experiment in which individuals in some regions of East Germany could not—due to their geographic location—consume West German television until 1989. By analyzing survey data from the periods before and after German reunification, we provide evidence that individuals who received West German television during the GDR period and were thus more frequently exposed to foreign media have developed less xenophobia. We document that West German television programs positively affected individuals’ attitudes towards foreigners and led to a higher likelihood of supporting refugees, for example by donating money to refugee aid. In addition to the survey evidence, we show that regions that could receive West German television before reunification were less likely to vote for extreme right-wing parties during the national elections from 1990 to 2017, and experienced fewer criminal offenses against refugees.

Keywords: Mass media, Television, Xenophobia, Attitudes towards foreigners, East Germany, Natural experiment

JEL Classification: D72, L82, P30

Suggested Citation

Hornuf, Lars and Rieger, Marc Oliver and Hartmann, Sven A., Can Television Reduce Xenophobia? The Case of East Germany (July 7, 2020). CESifo Working Paper Series No. 6632, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2932276 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2932276

Lars Hornuf (Contact Author)

Technische Universität Dresden ( email )

Dresden, 01307
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.hornuf.com

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) ( email )

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

Marc Oliver Rieger

University of Trier ( email )

15, Universitaetsring
Trier, 54286
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.banking-finance.uni-trier.de

Sven A. Hartmann

Institute for Labour Law and Industrial Relations in the European Union (IAAEU) ( email )

Behringstr. 21
Campus II, Building H, 7. Floor
Trier, DE 54296
Germany

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