We investigate how the salience of an ethnic minority affects the majority group's voting behavior. We use the increased salience of Muslim communities during Ramadan as a natural experiment. Exploiting exogenous variation in the distance of election dates to Ramadan over the 1980–2013 period in Germany, our findings reveal an increased polarization. Vote shares for both right- and left-wing extremist parties increase in municipalities with mosques when an election takes place shortly after Ramadan. We use survey data to provide evidence on mechanisms: Ramadan increases respondents' perceived share of the foreign-born population and emphasizes cultural dissimilarities, ultimately worsening attitudes toward Muslims.
Colussi, Tommaso, Ingo E. Isphording, and Nico Pestel.
"Minority Salience and Political Extremism."
American Economic Journal: Applied Economics,
Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
Micro-Based Behavioral Economics: Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
Cultural Economics: Religion
Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification