Social Media and Xenophobia: Evidence from Russia

74 Pages Posted: 24 Dec 2019 Last revised: 3 Feb 2021

See all articles by Leonardo Bursztyn

Leonardo Bursztyn

University of Chicago - Department of Economics

Georgy Egorov

Northwestern University - Kellogg School of Management; NBER

Ruben Enikolopov

Institute of Political Economy and Governance; New Economic School; ICREA; Universitat Pompeu Fabra; Barcelona GSE

Maria Petrova

Institute for Political Economy and Governance, Barcelona; Catalan Institution of Research and Advanced Studies (ICREA); Universitat Pompeu Fabra; Barcelona Graduate School of Economics (Barcelona GSE); New Economic School (NES)

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Date Written: December 2019

Abstract

We study the causal effect of social media on ethnic hate crimes and xenophobic attitudes in Russia using quasi-exogenous variation in social media penetration across cities. Higher penetration of social media led to more ethnic hate crimes, but only in cities with a high pre-existing level of nationalist sentiment. Consistent with a mechanism of coordination of crimes, the effects are stronger for crimes with multiple perpetrators. We implement a national survey experiment and show that social media persuaded young and low-educated individuals to hold more xenophobic attitudes, but did not increase respondents' openness to expressing these views. Our results are consistent with a simple model of social learning where penetration of social networks increases individuals' propensity to meet like-minded people.

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Suggested Citation

Bursztyn, Leonardo and Egorov, Georgy and Enikolopov, Ruben and Petrova, Maria, Social Media and Xenophobia: Evidence from Russia (December 2019). NBER Working Paper No. w26567, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3508546

Leonardo Bursztyn (Contact Author)

University of Chicago - Department of Economics ( email )

1126 E. 59th St
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United States

Georgy Egorov

Northwestern University - Kellogg School of Management ( email )

2001 Sheridan Road
Evanston, IL 60208
United States

NBER ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Ruben Enikolopov

Institute of Political Economy and Governance ( email )

Ramon Trias Fargas, 25-27
Barcelona, 08005
Spain

New Economic School ( email )

Skolkovskoe shosse 45
Moscow, Skolkovo 143026
Russia

ICREA ( email )

Passeig Lluís Companys, 23
Barcelona, 08010
Spain

Universitat Pompeu Fabra ( email )

Ramon Trias Fargas, 25-27
Barcelona, E-08005
Spain

Barcelona GSE ( email )

Ramon Trias Fargas, 25-27
Barcelona, Barcelona 08005
Spain

Maria Petrova

Institute for Political Economy and Governance, Barcelona ( email )

Ramon Trias Fargas, 25-27
Barcelona, 08005
Spain

Catalan Institution of Research and Advanced Studies (ICREA) ( email )

Passeig Lluís Companys, 23
Barcelona, 08010
Spain

Universitat Pompeu Fabra ( email )

Ramon Trias Fargas, 25-27
Barcelona, E-08005
Spain

Barcelona Graduate School of Economics (Barcelona GSE) ( email )

Ramon Trias Fargas, 25-27
Barcelona, Barcelona 08005
Spain

New Economic School (NES) ( email )

100A Novaya Street
Moscow, Skolkovo 143026
Russia

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