Leonardo Bursztyn, Ingar Haaland, Aakaash Rao, Chris Roth, 30 July 2020

When outright racism is stigmatised, people may need justifications for publicly expressing anti-minority views. Using two large-scale online experiments, this column argues that people use justifications, such as the claim that immigrants cause crime, to excuse their anti-immigrant behaviour, even if they do not privately believe them. Prominent public figures such as populist politicians can thus generate waves of anti-minority behaviour by serving as suppliers of excuses.

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