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March 18th 2021, 13:00-14:00: Sumit Deole (TU Dortmund): “Suffering and prejudice: Do negative emotions predict immigration concerns?”

Abstract: Despite being a regular suspect, a causal role of individuals' emotions in predicting their opposition to international immigration has not been investigated. To bridge this gap in research, using detailed longitudinal data from Germany, we construct an index of negative emotions, constituting individuals' experience of sadness, fear, and anger, and investigate the impact of negative emotions on immigration concerns. After controlling for person fixed effects and battery of individual-level and macroeconomic controls, we find that negative emotions are statistically significantly associated with immigration concerns. To estimate the causal impact of negative emotions, we exploit the exogenous variation induced by the parent's death and employ IV fixed effects regressions. We find that individuals' negative emotions affect immigration concerns, primarily among females, while males are not affected. The effects are more forceful among females irregularly employed, older in age, and rarely use social media. While our results show that negative emotions predict individuals' support for far-right political parties, no effect on their worries about crime, xenophobic hostility, and own financial situation is found.