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Increasing migrant inclusion: The promise and limits of empathy

Monday March 16, 2020, at 13:30
Room 24.120 (First floor). Mercè Rodoreda 24 building
Research seminar

Claire Adida (UC San Diego)

American public opinion toward refugees has consistently favored restricting admissions. This is puzzling, given that refugees are vulnerable populations and have been shown to contribute positively to their host communities. Can we foster greater inclusion? In this talk, I present a series of observational and experimental studies showing that empathy can increase inclusionary attitudes and behavior toward refugees and migrants more broadly. I compare the effectiveness of an information-based appeal with that of an empathy-based appeal, and show that the inclusionary effect of empathy replicates. I present new descriptive data on Americans' misperceptions of refugees, and discuss a research design for testing interventions aimed to rectify these misperceptions.

Claire Adida is an associate professor in the Department of Political Science at UC San Diego, as well as a faculty affiliate with the Policy Design and Evaluation Lab (PDEL), the Center for Comparative Immigration Studies (CCIS), the Stanford Immigration Policy Lab, and the Evidence in Governance and Politics Groups (EGAP). Her research is in comparative ethnic politics: more specifically in the study of identity, immigration and inter-group cooperation and conflict.

Her work has been published in Comparative Political Studies, Quarterly Journal of Political Science, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Economics and PoliticsEconomic Inquiry, the Journal of Population Economics, the Journal of Experimental Political Science, Public Opinion Quarterly, Cambridge University Press, and Harvard University Press. Her research has been funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the National Science Foundation, the Hellman Foundation, and the Evidence in Governance and Politics group.

Current research projects investigate when and how voters hold their politicians accountable in West Africa, the integration experiences of Somali immigrants in the United States, the kinds of messages that increase inclusionary attitudes toward Syrian refugees in the U.S, and how mobile money can be leveraged to improve and increase remittances in rural Africa.