Social Media and Xenophobia: Evidence from Russia

This workshop will be held using Zoom. Details will be sent once registered.

We study the causal effect of social media on ethnic hate crimes and xenophobic attitudes in Russia and the mechanisms underlying this effect, using quasi-exogenous variation in social media
penetration across cities. Higher penetration of social media led to more hate crimes 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. Using a national survey
experiment, we also find evidence of a mechanism of persuasion: social media led individuals
(especially young, male, and less-educated ones) to hold more xenophobic attitudes.

Written with Leonardo Bursztyn (Chicago), Georgy Egorov (Northwestern), and Ruben Enikolopov( NES, UPF, IPEF, BGSE)