Online Seminar Talk

The Interplay Between Refugee Inflows and Media Coverage in Determining Attitudes Towards Immigrants in Germany

Chia-Jung Tsai
Laboratory of Digital and Computational Demography, November 23, 2021

Chia-Jung Tsai from the Laboratory of Digital and Computational Demography examined the effect of increasing refugee numbers on the rise of anti-immigrant attitudes across German regions.


This study aims to examine the effect of increasing refugees on the rise of anti-immigrant attitudes across German regions. We explore how the interaction of local news events and demographic changes affects anti-immigrant attitudes. This study relies on data from German Socio-Economic-Panel (2011-2017), asylum applications data from the Federal Office of Statistics, and the Gdelt database, which is a real-time news database. Using a mixed effect approach, we show that the effect of immigrant presence on anti-immigrant attitudes across macro-regions, including the former West and East Germany, is moderated by the salience of news. As the refugee presence in a region causes a rise in anti-immigrant attitudes, the increasing media attention on refugees in some regions amplify this relationship. Based on this, we conclude that media coverage plays an essential, albeit inconsistent, role in politicizing changes in the population composition as threats, and thus in triggering anti-immigrant attitudes.


Chia-Jung Tsai is a Ph.D. student at the Lab of Digital and Computational Demography at MPIDR. She acquired her master in sociology from the University of Mannheim. Besides, she has also worked as a student assistant in the GESIS – Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences and the Mannheim Centre for European Social Research. Her current research projects focus on the rise of anti-immigrant attitudes and its impact on the social mobility and well-beings of immigrants combining with multiple data sources. Her research interests currently focus on Migration Studies, Quantitative Methodology, and Causal Inference.

The Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR) in Rostock is one of the leading demographic research centers in the world. It's part of the Max Planck Society, the internationally renowned German research society.