Native Bias: Overcoming Discrimination against Immigrants
Donghyun Danny Choi (Brown), Mathias Poertner (LSE), and Nicholas Sambanis (Yale)
In the aftermath of the refugee crisis caused by conflicts in the Middle East and an increase in migration to Europe, European nations have witnessed a surge in discrimination targeted at immigrant minorities. To quell these conflicts, some governments have resorted to the adoption of coercive assimilation policies aimed at erasing differences between natives and immigrants. Are these policies the best method for reducing hostilities? Native Bias challenges the premise of such regulations by making the case for a civic integration model, based on shared social ideas defining the concept and practice of citizenship. Drawing from original surveys, survey experiments, and novel field experiments, Donghyun Danny Choi, Mathias Poertner, and Nicholas Sambanis show that although prejudice against immigrants is often driven by differences in traits such as appearance and religious practice, the suppression of such differences does not constitute the only path to integration. Instead, the authors demonstrate that similarities in ideas and value systems can serve as the foundation for a common identity, based on a shared concept of citizenship, overcoming the perceived social distance between natives and immigrants. 
Attitudes Toward Refugees in the Shadow of Territorial Conflict: Evidence From Cyprus 
Nicholas Sambanis (Yale University), George I. Kassinis (University of Cyprus), Elizabeth Kassinis (CARITAS Cyprus)
A large literature on immigration has explored attitudes toward refugees from the prism of theories of distributive or cultural conflict in the domestic political economy. Less is known about the impact of international factors, including inter-state conflict over territory. Refugees and other migrants must often cross disputed borders, which raises concerns over national sovereignty in countries with unresolved territorial claims. We explore spillovers of border disputes into the realm of immigration when natives perceive that a regional adversary uses migrant flows strategically to pursue foreign policy goals. We analyze experimental data from Cyprus, where the legacy of the island’s de facto partition since 1974 permeates all aspects of politics. We test whether the increased salience of unresolved territorial conflict with Turkey shapes attitudes toward migrants who cross a disputed boundary and find evidence in support of that hypothesis when natives perceive migrants as an instrument of Turkey’s foreign policy.
Economic Strain Does Not Reduce Support for Ukrainian Refugees in Poland and Germany
William Halm (University of Pennsylvania), Daniel J. Hopkins (University of Pennsylvania), Krzysztof Krakowski (Kings College), Nicholas Sambanis (Yale University)
Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine forced millions to flee to neighboring countries while also raising European energy prices. If economic strains were to induce anti-refugee attitudes anywhere, they are likely to do so in Poland or Germany, the two countries hosting the largest numbers of Ukrainians. Using two panel surveys conducted in 2022-2023, we investigate whether economic strains undermined support for Ukrainian refugees or the war effort. In both countries, we find high and stable levels of support for Ukrainian refugees and efforts to help them and Ukraine, even in the face of rising economic costs. Evidence of the stability of public opinion is further bolstered by multiple survey experiments which make factors including the refugees’ economic impacts salient. Pro-Ukrainian attitudes were steady over the war’s first year and not a product of social desirability.
Mating Market Shock and Gendered Support for Ukrainian Refugees in Poland
Krzysztof Krakowski (Kings College London) and Nicholas Sambanis (Yale University)
Gender-based differences in attitudes toward immigration have been overlooked in extant literature, yet a gender gap exists in refugee support, with women being more favorable than men. Exploring this gender gap can yield important new insights regarding determinants of public attitudes toward immigration. In Poland, which currently hosts the largest number of Ukrainian refugees in the world, the gender gap in refugee support is reversed as women are less supportive of refugees than men, even though most Ukrainian refugees are women. We analyze data from three original surveys targeting nearly 10,000 respondents and find that self-interest and normative concerns shape attitudes toward Ukrainian refugees. Specifically, mating market competition and norms of paternalistic help both shape male respondents’ attitudes toward Ukrainian refugees, though they leave female respondents relatively unaffected. Our analysis suggests that prevalent theories must account for gendered responses to immigration, and for the gender composition of the refugee population.
Misperceiving Nationalism: Beliefs About Others’ Beliefs and Group Conformism in Foreign Policy
Nicholas Sambanis (Yale University), Panagiotis Tsakonas (Kapodistrian University, Athens), and Amber Lee (Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia)
We explore the effect of beliefs about others’ beliefs in the formation of foreign policy preferences in the context of an escalating territorial dispute. We develop a test a new theoretical argument suggesting that misperceptions of the concept of national identification feed hawkish policy preferences and demonstrate, via several surveys and experiments fielded in Greece during a period of escalating territorial conflict with Turkey, that correcting these misperceptions increases support for dovish policies at the expense of hawkishness in foreign policy.  Consistent with rationalist theories of war, we find that citizens’ pragmatic assessments of the costs of militarized conflict temper expressions of hostility toward the national outgroup. Our analysis shows that national identification need not result in belligerent responses to sovereignty challenges, and that group conformism during periods of nationalist conflict can be harnessed to de-escalate foreign policy crises.
Once We Too Were Strangers: Can a Heritage of Displacement be Leveraged to Build Support for Present-Day Refugees? 
Participating Members: Sule Yaylaci (Penn), Matthew Simonson (HUJI), and Nicholas Sambanis (Yale)
Prior studies suggest that subtle messaging interventions can reduce prejudice by stimulating perspective-taking. For instance, there is evidence that reminding citizens of their family’s experiences with displacement can induce empathy toward refugees. We test the generalizability of this treatment in five new studies in Cyprus, Turkey, and Greece, and find no evidence that descendants of displaced Turks, Greeks, or Greek Cypriots become more sympathetic toward refugees when a comparison to their own family experiences is drawn. In some cases, they become more hostile. Our study raises doubts about the scalability of this strategy to reduce anti-refugee bias. Drawing ingroup-outgroup parallels generates context-specific effects and does not move policy attitudes. We conclude by discussing the practical limitations of light-touch interventions and calling for more research on how prejudice-reduction interventions can be scaled.
Does External Threat Bring the Nation Together?
Nicholas Sambanis (Yale University), Amber Lee (Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia)
A common assumption in theories of international conflict is that external security threats unify the nation. War — or the threat of war — and other forms of interstate competition over power and status lead to mobilization to protect the nation, increasing the salience of national identity, which is assumed to weaken citizens’ attachment to sub-national identities. However, empirical evidence for this trade-off between national and sub-national identification during times of crisis is sparse. We present an experimental framework to measure the effects of external threat on national identification, exploring whether this effect is driven by increased attachment to the nation (ingroup love), increased hostility toward other nations (outgroup hate), or both simultaneously. We analyze data from the United States, where partisan polarization has been shown to weaken national identification. We show that external threat strengthens national identification and that this is expressed mainly as increased hostility toward the national outgroup. This effect need not come at the expense of salient partisan (or other subnational) identities as long as these are not perceived to be in competition with the national identity.
Sexism and Gender Bias in Candidate Preferences: Experimental Evidence from South Korea
Nicholas Sambanis (Yale University), Amber Lee (Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia)
A meta-analysis of experimental research on candidate preferences across countries finds no evidence of bias against female candidates despite the widespread assumption that such bias exists. We revisit this question with data from South Korea. Via a conjoint experiment and a survey of a nationally representative sample of the population, we identify a pattern of deep polarization along gender lines whereby both male and female voters have strong preferences for candidates of their own gender. We show that sexism drives much of this gender-based polarization. Preferences for descriptive representation are reflective of voters’ assumptions regarding candidates’ positions on gender issues. Making gender equality a priority is damaging for both male and female politicians among male voters, but beneficial among female voters. Female candidates are more severely punished by women if they are not committed to promoting gender equality.
Does School Environment Shape Gender Differences in Leadership and Participation? Evidence from a Natural Experiment in South Korea
Amber Lee (Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia), Nicholas Sambanis (Yale University)
Across countries, a gender gap exists with respect to attitudes toward leadership and political participation, with women scoring lower than men on measures of these outcomes. This gap emerges early in life and could be influenced by gender norms learned through socialization, in the family or at school. Using a natural experiment in high school assignment in South Korea, we examine whether an all-female school environment can contribute to narrowing the gender gap by increasing women’s civic and political participation and fostering their ambition for leadership. We find that female graduates of single-sex schools are more engaged in politics and society and more likely to pursue leadership positions compared to women who graduated from coeducational schools. These effects are durable, lasting for years, even decades. However, single-sex schools do not cultivate more progressive gender attitudes among women, so increased female participation need not imply greater activism for gender equality.
Misperceiving Preferences for Exclusion: Beliefs About Others’ Beliefs and Support for Muslim Exclusion in India
Nicholas Sambanis (Yale) and Dipin Kaur (Ashoka University)
We study the extent to which Hindu support for exclusionary policies (or opposition to inclusionary policies) toward Muslims is partly due to misperceptions of the extent to which other Hindus support Muslim exclusion, and of concomitant misperceptions of Muslims’ feelings toward India and their attachment to the Indian nation.
Hierarchies of Values and Native-Immigrant Conflict: Experimental Evidence from Germany
Lukas Reinhardt (University of Cologne) and Nicholas Sambanis (Yale)
Value conflict is at the heart of opposition to multiculturalism in Europe. Yet previous studies have not established which type of value conflict generates more anti-immigrant bias. We present a simple, cost-effective, and easily scalable experimental design to test how anti-immigrant bias responds to perceptions of value conflict generated by norm violations. We contrast effects of adherence to or violations of welfare state norms and gender equity norms in Germany and find that adherence to gender equity norms is more important than adherence to welfare state norms for natives’ assessments of Muslim immigrants. Norm hierarchies that define good citizenship are applied inconsistently to natives vs immigrants and prior beliefs about which norms Muslims are
more likely to violate partly explain which norms natives will focus on in their assessments of Muslims as citizens.
The Price of Identity: Material Interest, Reaction to Bias, and Ingroup Solidarity
Eugen Dimant (University of Pennsylvanis), Lukas Reinhardt (University of Cologne), and Nicholas Sambanis (Yale)
We explore how racial groups in the U.S. react to discrimination against their members, using a well-powered experiment to study these questions. We subtly introduce inequality between a Black and a White group and vary whether the inequality is human-made or a chance occurrence. Participants can i) correct the inequality, ii) leave it unchanged, or iii) exacerbate it. Black participants in this experiment react more strongly against inequality against their ingroup if it is human-made rather than when it occurs by chance. Overall, subjects are more likely to correct inequality if their ingroup (rather than their outgroup) is disadvantaged and they are more likely to leave it unchanged if their outgroup (rather than their ingroup) is disadvantaged indicating that ingroup bias is reflected not in outright unfairness, but in switching fairness perceptions. Moreover, subjects are willing to bear personal costs to implement their allocation decisions. The willingness to pay to implement allocation decisions is especially high for black subjects and if the ingroup of the subject is disadvantaged by inequality.
Legalization of undocumented migrants or fixed-term bilateral agreements with sending
countries: What do the Greeks prefer?
Nicholas Sambanis (Yale) & Eleni Kyrkopoulou (Yale)
In September 2023, Dimitris Keridis, who had been recently appointed Minister of Migration and Asylum in
Greece, revealed the government’s plans to regularize thousands of undocumented migrants so as to address
labor market shortages in agriculture, tourism, and construction. The legalization policy was presented as a realistic, hard-nosed way of maximizing the economic benefits of immigration while ebbing the flow of new migrants, Opposition to the policy was registered by the more conservative segments of the governing party. We provide new data to assess Greek public opinion on this important debate regarding immigration policy.
Political Exclusion, Lost Autonomy, and Non-Violent Separatism
Micha Germann (University of Bath) and Nicholas Sambanis (Yale)
Most civil wars are preceded by nonviolent forms of conflict. While it is often assumed that violent and nonviolent conflicts are qualitatively different and have different causes, that assumption is rarely tested empirically. This article uses a two-step approach to explore whether political exclusion and lost autonomy—two common causes of civil war according to extant literature—are associated with the emergence of nonviolent separatist claims, with the escalation of nonviolent separatist claims to war, or both. Our analysis suggests that different types of grievances matter more at the nonviolent and violent stages of protest movements.