Ethnic Diversity, Racial Prejudice, and Attitudes towards Equity in the West and Beyond

A Multilevel Analysis, 1989–2014

In: International Journal on Minority and Group Rights
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  • 1 NTNU Business School, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway, author)
  • | 2 Department of Sociology and Political Science, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway,
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Recent studies find that increasing ethnic diversity through immigration reduces support for welfare states. Using multilevel analysis of a wide sample of countries (≅100) and a large sampling of individuals (≅310,000), we find little evidence to suggest that the degree of diversity or antipathy towards ethnic others alone matter in explaining attitudes towards equity or public action aimed at reducing inequalities. Attitudes against reducing inequality are revealed mostly when the size of the majority ethnic group’s share is smaller, but only among people with preexisting skeptical attitudes towards ethnic and racial others. Those with no prejudicial attitudes show higher levels of support for equity. These effects are strongest when testing only a sample of Western countries. The results support the notion that sociotropic factors related to cultural biases are what matter, rather than fears attached to demographic change and increased ethnic competition in the economic realm.

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