Language and Xenophobia
cege Discussion Paper, No. 412, March 2021
48 Pages Posted: 30 Mar 2021
Date Written: March 4, 2021
Previous research examining attitudes toward foreigners and immigration has focused primarily on economic, socioeconomic, and cultural variables to explain the different attitudes of individuals toward foreigners. With my research, I add language as another dimension to explain these differences. I use the difference in how languages distinguish between different politeness groups in their second person pronouns to explain how much trust individuals place in foreigners. Using data from the World Value Survey and the World Atlas of Language Structure I find that individuals who speak a language without politeness distinctions have a higher probability to respond that they trust foreigners.
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