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2019 International Association for Conflict Management Conference

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Concerns About Automation and Negative Sentiment Toward Immigration

Keywords: immigration, intergroup threat, automation

Abstract: Across eleven studies, we examine how concerns about the rise of automation may be associated with attitudes and beliefs towards immigrants. Studies 1a-1g use archival data ranging from 1986 – 2017 across both the United States and Europe to demonstrate a robust association between concerns about automation and more hostile attitudes towards immigrants. Studies 2a, 2b, and 3 employ both correlational and experimental methods to demonstrate that when people are exposed to automation as an employment threat, people increase support for restrictive immigration policies. In addition, this association was mediated by perceptions of both realistic and symbolic intergroup threat. Finally, Study 4 experimentally demonstrates that automation may lead to more discriminatory behavior towards immigrants in the context of layoffs. Altogether, these results suggest that concerns about automation correspond to perceptions of threat and competition with immigrants, and consequent anti-immigration sentiment.

Monica Gamez-Djokic, Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management

Adam Waytz, Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management


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