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Research Details

Social Media and Xenophobia: Evidence from Russia

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 express 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.

Type

Working Paper

Author(s)

Leonardo Bursztyn, Georgy Egorov, Ruben Enikolopov, Maria Petrova

Date Published

2020

Citations

Bursztyn, Leonardo, Georgy Egorov, Ruben Enikolopov, and Maria Petrova. 2020. Social Media and Xenophobia: Evidence from Russia.

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