Linguistic Assimilation Does Not Reduce Discrimination Against Immigrants: Evidence from Germany | Academic Article individual record

Abstract Many western liberal democracies have witnessed increased discrimination against immigrants and opposition to multiculturalism. Prior research identifies ethno-linguistic differences between immigrant and native populations as the key source of such bias. Linguistic assimilation has therefore been proposed as an important mechanism to reduce discrimination and mitigate conflict between natives and immigrants. Using large-scale field experiments conducted in 30 cities across Germany – a country with a high influx of immigrants and refugees – we empirically test whether linguistic assimilation reduces discrimination against Muslim immigrants in everyday social interactions. We find that it does not; Muslim immigrants are no less likely to be discriminated against even if they appear to be linguistically assimilated. However, we also find that ethno-linguistic differences alone do not cause bias among natives in a country with a large immigrant population and state policies that encourage multiculturalism.

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Choi, D. D., Poertner, M., & Sambanis, N.
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