Violence and the perception of risk associated with hosting refugees

Alex Braithwaite, Tiffany S. Chu, Justin Curtis, Faten Ghosn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


How do individuals’ experiences with political violence affect their perceptions regarding the risk associated with hosting refugees? This is an important question given that many communities are beginning to resent and oppose hosting refugees. To explore answers to the question, we study recent exposure to violence within Lebanon, which is a meaningful context since Lebanon serves as host to more than one million refugees from the Syrian Civil War. We adopt a novel empirical strategy to isolate the effect of exposure to violence upon perceptions of risk associated with hosting refugees. We exploit plausibly exogenous variation in the timing of violent events linked to refugee populations in Lebanon relative to the timing of responses to our nationally representative survey deployed between June and August 2017. Our empirical strategy compares individuals interviewed before and after violent attacks in Lebanon. The results suggest that recent exposure to violence by Syrian militants increases individuals’ perceptions of risk associated with hosting refugees from conflict zones, while exposure to violence carried out by Lebanese forces reduces perceptions of risk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)473-492
Number of pages20
JournalPublic Choice
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Mar 1 2019


  • Civil war
  • Exposure to violence
  • Lebanon
  • Public attitudes
  • Refugees

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Economics and Econometrics


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