DP15237 Exposure to ethnic minorities changes attitudes to them

Author(s): Sabine Albrecht, Elena Cettolin, Riccardo Ghidoni, Sigrid Suetens
Publication Date: August 2020
Keyword(s): attitudes to immigrants, discrimination, ethnic diversity, individual-level fixed-effects regressions, intergroup contact, lab-in-the-field experiment, prejudice, refugee crisis
JEL(s): C23, D91, J15, R23
Programme Areas: International Trade and Regional Economics
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=15237

Does exposure to ethnic minorities change the majority's attitudes towards them? We investigate this question using novel panel data on attitudes from a general-population sample in the Netherlands matched to geographical data on refugees. We find that people who live in neighborhoods of refugees for a sufficiently long time acquire a more positive attitude. Instead, people living in municipalities hosting refugees, but not in their close neighborhood, develop a more negative attitude. The positive neighborhood effect is particularly strong for groups that are likely to have personal contact with refugees suggesting that contact with minorities can effectively reduce prejudice.