Family History and Attitudes Toward Outgroups: Evidence from the Syrian Refugee Crisis

45 Pages Posted: 22 Jan 2018

See all articles by Elias Dinas

Elias Dinas

Department of Politics and IR, University of Oxford

Vasiliki Fouka

Stanford University

Date Written: January 15, 2018

Abstract

We examine how analogous thinking about family history affects outgroup bias. We provide evidence from Greece, a country that serves as an entry port to Europe for a large number of refugees and whose native population partly consists of descendants of ethnic Greeks who were forcibly relocated from Turkey in the early twentieth century. Combining historical and survey data with an experimental manipulation, we show that mentioning the parallels between past and present forced displacement leads to substantial increases in monetary donations and attitudinal measures of sympathy for refugees among respondents with forcibly displaced ancestors. This effect is also found among Greeks without a family history of forced migration, but only in places with a large historical concentration of Greek refugees from Turkey, where this historical experience is salient. Overall, our findings suggest that harnessing past experience can be an effective way of increasing empathy and reducing outgroup discrimination.

Keywords: asylum-seekers; forced displacement; perspective-taking; Asia Minor; Lausanne Treaty; xenophobia; family socialisation

JEL Classification: N43

Suggested Citation

Dinas, Elias and Fouka, Vasiliki, Family History and Attitudes Toward Outgroups: Evidence from the Syrian Refugee Crisis (January 15, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3102093 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3102093

Elias Dinas (Contact Author)

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

Mansfield Road
Oxford, Oxfordshire OX1 4AU
United Kingdom

Vasiliki Fouka

Stanford University ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

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