DP14877 Social Media and Xenophobia: Evidence from Russia

Author(s): Leonardo Bursztyn, Georgy Egorov, Ruben Enikolopov, Maria Petrova
Publication Date: June 2020
Keyword(s): Hate crime, Russia, social media, Xenophobia
JEL(s): D7, H0, J15
Programme Areas: Public Economics
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=14877

We study the causal effect of social media on ethnic hate crimes and xenophobic attitudes in Rus- sia and the mechanisms underlying this effect, using quasi-exogenous variation in social media penetration across cities. Higher penetration of social media led to more hate crimes 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. Using a national survey experiment, we also find evidence of a mechanism of persuasion: social media led individuals (especially young, male, and less-educated ones) to hold more xenophobic attitudes.