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

Public Policy Group

Elias Dinas

University of Oxford

Moritz Marbach

ETH Zürich - Department of Humanities, Social and Political Sciences (GESS)

Konstantinos Matakos

King’s College London - Department of Political Economy; Harvard University - Department of Government

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)

Public Policy Group ( email )

Rämistrasse 101
ZUE F7
Zürich, 8092
Switzerland

Elias Dinas

University of Oxford ( email )

Mansfield Road
Oxford, Oxfordshire OX1 4AU
United Kingdom

Moritz Marbach

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

Haldeneggsteig 4
Zurich, Zurich 8006
Switzerland

Konstantinos Matakos

King’s College London - Department of Political Economy ( email )

Bush House NE
London, London WC2B 4BG
United Kingdom

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

Harvard University - Department of Government ( email )

1737 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Dimitrios Xefteris

University of Cyprus ( email )

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

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