Anti-Muslim Voting and Media Coverage of Immigrant Crimes

This paper will be published in 2022 in one of the top 10 journals in economics: Review of Economic and Statistics.

We study how news coverage of immigrant criminality impacts voting in one of the most controversial referendums in recent years - the 2009 Swiss minaret ban. We combine a comprehensive crime detection dataset with detailed information on newspaper coverage. We first document a large upward distortion in media reporting of immigrant crime during the prereferendum period. Exploiting quasi-random variations in crime incidence, we find a positive first-order effect of news coverage on support for the ban. Quantification shows that, in absence of the media bias, pro-ban vote would have decreased from 57.6% to 53.5% at the national level.

Mathieu Couttenier and Sophie Hatte (from ENS de Lyon, affiliated researchers at Gate and Centre for Economic Policy Research), Mathias Thoenig (from the University of Lausanne) and Stephanos Vlachos (from the University of Vienna) are the authors of this article which will be published in the journal Review of Economic and Statistics in 2022.


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