Ingar K. Haaland
Department of Economics, University of Bergen
Fosswinckels gate 14, Bergen, Norway
Institutional Affiliation: University of Bergen
NBER Working Papers and Publications
|May 2020||I Have Nothing Against Them, But. . .|
with Leonardo Bursztyn, Aakaash Rao, Christopher P. Roth: w27288
We study the use of excuses to justify socially stigmatized actions, such as opposing minority groups. Rationales to oppose minorities change some people’s private opinions, leading them to take anti-minority actions even if they are not prejudiced against minorities. When these rationales become common knowledge, prejudiced people who are not persuaded by the rationale can pool with unprejudiced people who are persuaded. This decreases the stigma associated with anti-minority expression, increasing public opposition to minority groups. We examine this mechanism through several large-scale experiments in the context of anti-immigrant behavior in the United States. In the first main experiment, participants learn about a study claiming that immigrants increase crime rates and then choose wh...