Online Public Opinion and Refugee Allocation. Assessment of the Impact of Refugee Facilities on Individual Expression of Political Views on Twitter
45 Pages Posted: 9 Oct 2018
Date Written: September 17, 2018
How does the allocation of refugees in geographic proximity affect natives' engagement with the refugee topic? In this study I investigate this question, leveraging the recent increase in refugee numbers in Germany and the subsequent opening of large refugee facilities. Relying on a large random sample of German Twitter users and using their Twitter posts to measure engagement with the refugee topic, I investigate how individual users react to the opening of facilities in their geographic proximity. I find that users are more likely to talk about the topic shortly before the facility opens. I additionally present evidence that subjects speak more negatively about the topic before the opening as compared to after the opening of the facility. Besides these substantive contributions, this study offers a template on how to use social media data to study public attention and public opinion on localized events.
Keywords: refugees, twitter, immigration, social media
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