Susceptibility to Threatening Information and Opposition to Refugee Resettlement
61 Pages Posted: 24 Jul 2018 Last revised: 31 Jul 2020
Date Written: July 30, 2020
A growing number of news articles and politicians' statements treat refugees as if they were potential terrorists. However, existing studies have yet thoroughly examined how threatening information about refugees affects natives' attitudes toward refugee resettlement. To address this issue, we conducted a survey experiment in Japan, where the volume of news about refugees has increased sharply despite the absence of severe security concerns linked to the influx of refugees to the country. And we find two striking patterns. First, natives have strong NIMBY (Not-in-my-backyard) attitudes toward refugee resettlement. Second, natives become more strongly opposed to refugee resettlement when they are exposed to frames that depict refugees as threatening, regardless of the proximity to threats and the proximity to resettlement. These results highlight important theoretical and policy implications for scholars interested in intergroup relations and international policy efforts to address the global refugee crisis.
Keywords: perceived threat, intergroup relations, framing effect, refugees, Japan
JEL Classification: D72, D80, F22, J15, J61
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