Sekou Keita, Thomas Renault, Jérôme Valette, The Usual Suspects : Offender Origin, Media Reporting and Natives’ Attitudes Towards Immigration, The Economic Journal, Volume 134, Issue 657, January 2024


This paper analyses whether the syste­matic disclo­sure of crimi­nals’ origins in the press affects natives’ atti­tudes towards immi­gra­tion. It takes advan­tage of the unila­teral change in repor­ting policy announced by the German news­paper Säch­sische Zeitung in July 2016. Combi­ning indi­vi­dual-level panel data from the German Socio-Economic Panel from 2014 to 2018 with 402,819 crime-related articles in German news­pa­pers and those news­pa­pers’ market shares, we find that syste­ma­ti­cally mentio­ning the origins of crimi­nals increases the rela­tive salience of natives’ crimi­na­lity and reduces natives’ concerns about immi­gra­tion, brea­king the implicit link between immi­gra­tion and crime.

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