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Hate Is Too Great a Burden to Bear: Hate Crimes and the Mental Health of Refugees

SOEPpapers 1130, 53 S.

Daniel Graeber, Felicitas Schikora


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Against a background of increasing violence against non-natives, we estimate the effect of hate crime on refugees’ mental health in Germany. For this purpose, we combine two datasets: administrative records on xenophobic crime against refugee shelters by the Federal Criminal Office and the IAB-BAMF-SOEP Survey of Refugees. We apply a regression discontinuity design in time to estimate the effect of interest. Our results indicate that hate crime has a substantial negative effect on several mental health indicators, including the Mental Component Summary score and the Patient Health Questionnaire-4 score. The effects are stronger for refugees with closer geographic proximity to the focal hate crime and refugees with low country-specific human capital. While the estimated effect is only transitory, we argue that negative mental health shocks during the critical period after arrival have important long-term consequences.

Daniel Graeber

Research Associate in the German Socio-Economic Panel study Department

Topics: Migration, Health

JEL-Classification: I10;J15;J24;F22;O15
Keywords: Mental health, hate crime, migration, refugees, human capital
Frei zugängliche Version: (econstor)