Wednesday, September 28, 2022
12 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
McKinney Conference Room, 111 Thayer Street
This paper documents the spread of anti-refugee sentiment, right-wing voting and other salient political opinions via international migration networks. It shows that attitudes, behaviors, and attention of 1st- and 2nd-generation immigrants co-move with their countries of origin. This co-movement is stronger for immigrants less socially integrated into their host societies. Three channels facilitate the transmission of attitudes: local co-ethnic diasporas, social media ties to the origins, and within-family cross-border connections. To advance causality, I leverage the variation in timing and intensity of the 2015 European Refugee Crisis. I show that political spillovers of anti-refugee sentiment activate during the periods of increased issue salience at the origins and contribute to the spread of support for right-wing populist parties. Augmenting social survey data with the data from Google Trends and Facebook, I show that (i) elevated attention to events at the origin, and (ii) network homophily are the mechanisms behind these cross-border contagion effects. Additional evidence from the staggered passage of same-sex marriage laws across European countries reveals similar contagion effects.