The Effect of President Trump's Election on Hate Crimes
24 Pages Posted: 18 Jan 2018 Last revised: 31 Jan 2019
Date Written: January 14, 2018
This Essay empirically evaluates the relationship between Donald Trump’s rise to power and the recent increase in reported hate crimes. A number of critics predicted that President Trump’s divisive rhetoric during the presidential campaign and his subsequent election would embolden hate crime perpetrators, thereby contributing to more hate crimes. Media commentators have dubbed this the Trump Effect.
We find compelling evidence to support the Trump Effect hypothesis. Using time series analysis, we show that Donald Trump’s election in November of 2016 was associated with a statistically significant surge in reported hate crimes across the United States, even when controlling for alternative explanations. Further, by using panel regression techniques, we show that counties that voted for President Trump by the widest margins in the presidential election also experienced the largest increases in reported hate crimes.
Using the data from this study, we offer a novel theory that builds on the existing literature on the causes of hate crimes. We hypothesize that it was not just Trump’s inflammatory rhetoric throughout the political campaign that caused hate crimes to increase. Rather, we argue that it was Trump’s subsequent election as President of the United States that validated this rhetoric in the eyes of perpetrators and fueled the hate crime surge.
Keywords: Hate Crime, Causes of Crime, Donald Trump
JEL Classification: K1, K14, K4
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation