Susceptibility to Threatening News and Opposition to Refugee Resettlement: The Case of Japan
47 Pages Posted: 24 Jul 2018 Last revised: 27 Nov 2019
Date Written: November 25, 2019
A prominent explanation for opposition to refugee resettlement is that natives who are directly exposed to and feel threatened by the influx of refugees are more likely to oppose refugee resettlement. Despite the increased prevalence of politicians' rhetoric against refugees and news articles implying refugees as potential terrorists, however, natives' susceptibility to threatening information---even in the absence of real threats---has yet to be fully investigated. To address this issue, we conducted a survey experiment in Japan, where real threats imposed by the influx of refugees are virtually non-existent. Our results demonstrate that natives become more strongly opposed to refugee resettlement when they are exposed to frames that depict refugees as threatening, regardless of the proximity to the location of potential threats and refugee resettlement. Further analysis focusing on subgroups, however, shows that conscious and positive interactions with outgroup members could make those natives less susceptible to anti-refugee rhetoric and threatening frames.
Keywords: perceived threat, intergroup relations, framing effect, contact theory, refugees, Japan
JEL Classification: D72, D80, F22, J15, J61
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