Language and Xenophobia

cege Discussion Paper, No. 412, March 2021

48 Pages Posted: 30 Mar 2021

See all articles by Florian Rottner

Florian Rottner

University of Goettingen (Göttingen)

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.

Suggested Citation

Rottner, Florian, Language and Xenophobia (March 4, 2021). cege Discussion Paper, No. 412, March 2021, Available at SSRN: or

Florian Rottner (Contact Author)

University of Goettingen (Göttingen) ( email )

Platz der Gottinger Sieben 3
Gottingen, D-37073

Do you have negative results from your research you’d like to share?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics