Does Exposure to the Refugee Crisis Make Natives More Hostile?

36 Pages Posted: 28 Sep 2017 Last revised: 10 Jan 2019

See all articles by Dominik Hangartner

Dominik Hangartner

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE); Stanford Immigration Policy Lab

Elias Dinas

Department of Politics and IR, University of Oxford

Moritz Marbach

ETH Zurich - Department of Humanities, Social and Political Sciences

Konstantinos Matakos

King's College London, Dept. of Political Economy

Dimitrios Xefteris

University of Cyprus

Date Written: September 25, 2017

Abstract

Although Europe has experienced unprecedented numbers of refugee arrivals in recent years, there exists almost no causal evidence regarding the impact of the refugee crisis on natives' attitudes, policy preferences, and political engagement. We exploit a natural experiment in the Aegean Sea, where Greek islands close to the Turkish coast experienced a sudden and massive increase in refugee arrivals while similar islands slightly farther away did not. Leveraging a targeted survey of 2,070 islands residents and distance to Turkey as an instrument, we find that direct exposure to refugee arrivals induces sizeable and lasting increases in natives' hostility toward refugee, immigrant and Muslim minorities; support for restrictive asylum and immigration policies; and political engagement to effect such exclusionary policies. Since refugees only passed through these islands, our findings challenge both standard economic and cultural explanations of anti-immigrant sentiment, and show that mere exposure suffices in generating lasting increases in hostility.

Suggested Citation

Hangartner, Dominik and Dinas, Elias and Marbach, Moritz and Matakos, Konstantinos and Xefteris, Dimitrios, Does Exposure to the Refugee Crisis Make Natives More Hostile? (September 25, 2017). Stanford-Zurich Immigration Policy Lab Working Paper No. 17-02. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3042936 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3042936

Dominik Hangartner (Contact Author)

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) ( email )

Departments of Government and Methodology
Houghton Street
London, WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

Stanford Immigration Policy Lab

30 Alta Road
Stanford, CA 94305
United States

Elias Dinas

Department of Politics and IR, University of Oxford ( email )

Mansfield Road
Oxford, Oxfordshire OX1 4AU
United Kingdom

Moritz Marbach

ETH Zurich - Department of Humanities, Social and Political Sciences ( email )

Haldeneggsteig 4
Zurich, Zurich 8006
Switzerland

Konstantinos Matakos

King's College London, Dept. of Political Economy ( email )

Strand Campus
London, WC2R 2LS
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/site/kostasmatakos/

Dimitrios Xefteris

University of Cyprus ( email )

75 Kallipoleos Street
P.O. Box 20537
1678 Nicosia
Cyprus

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