Religious and Racial Discrimination Attitudes: Evidence From a Contemporary and a Historical Context

Mara Squicciarini

Mara Squicciarini

Associated Investigator



February 2020- August 2023


For centuries, religious and racial discrimination has been a primary barrier for social and economic interactions between communities and still is today in many societies across the globe. The relationship between discriminatory behavior and economic and political factors has been particularly complex throughout history, with discrimination toward religious and racial minorities emerging in periods of economic and political distress (Glaeser, 2005; Voigtlaender and Voth, 2012; Ochsner and Roesel, 2017). Discriminatory attitudes are considered at the root of many key individual decisions (such as marriage, children education, residential location, and employment) and strong negative social attitudes towards specific groups (based on ethnicity or country of origin) might lead to segregated equilibria often harmful for economic efficiency. Despite a large literature focusing on the outcomes of religious and racial discrimination, there is little empirical evidence on whether discriminatory attitudes change over the long-term, and through which mechanism. The main challenges are the measurement of attitudes and finding a context in which to study their interaction with demographic, economic, and institutional dynamics. 

This project will try to address these challenges in several ways. 

PI: Paolo Masella, Università degli Studi di Bologna

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This project has been funded by Ministero dell'Istruzione, dell'Università e della Ricerca under the framework PRIN 2017 - Progetti di ricerca di Rilevante Interesse Nazionale.