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Journal Article

Covid-19 crisis and hostility against foreigners


Cahlikova,  Jana
Public Economics, MPI for Tax Law and Public Finance, Max Planck Society;

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Bartoš, V., Bauer, M., Cahlikova, J., & Chytilová, J. (2021). Covid-19 crisis and hostility against foreigners. European Economic Review, 137: 103818. doi:10.1016/j.euroecorev.2021.103818.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-000A-E041-F
Harmful behavior against out-group members often rises during periods of economic hardship and health pandemics. Here, we test the widespread concern that the Covid-19 crisis may fuel hostility against people from other nations. Using a controlled money-burning task, we elicited hostile behavior among a nationally representative sample (n = 2,186) in the Czech Republic during the first wave of the pandemic. We provide evidence that exogenously elevating the salience of the Covid-19 crisis increases hostility against foreigners from the EU, USA and Asia. This behavioral response is similar across various demographic sub-groups. Further, we observe zero to small negative effects for both domestic out-groups and in-groups, suggesting that the salience of Covid-19 might negatively affect behavior not only towards foreigners but to other people more generally, though these findings are not conclusive. The results underscore the importance of not inflaming anti-foreigner sentiments and suggest the need to monitor impacts of the crisis on behavior in the social domain.