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A Research Note: The Differential Impact of Threats on Ethnic Prejudice Toward Three Minority Groups in Britain*


In this research note we replicate, update and expand innovative research by Sniderman et al. conducted in the Netherlands in the late 1990s, and ask whether the relative primacy of cultural compared with economic and safety threats in explaining ethnic prejudice remains true under markedly different national, economic and political contexts. Using two national British surveys conducted in 2011 and 2016, we examine the impact of threat on hostility toward three minority groups. Our results confirm the primacy of cultural threat as the strongest and most consistent predictor of hostility, while demonstrating the more context-specific effects of safety and economic concerns, with safety threats playing an overall more prominent role and increased economic concerns being related to less hostility post-Brexit.

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Eline A. de Rooij, Assistant Professor ( and Mark Pickup, Associate Professor (, Department of Political Science, Simon Fraser University, 8888 University Drive, Burnaby, BC V5A 1S6. Matthew J. Goodwin, Professor, School of Politics and International Relations, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent CT2 7NZ ( Financial support for this research was provided by the Integrating Global Society Group and the School of Politics and International Relations at the University of Nottingham, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, Canada. The authors are also grateful to Joe Twyman, Laurence Janta-Lipinksi and Adam McDonnell at YouGov for their assistance with the survey data, and to the anonymous reviewers for their helpful feedback. Replication data, code, and any additional materials required to replicate all analyses in this article are available on the Political Science Research and Methods (PSRM) Dataverse within the Harvard Dataverse Network at To view supplementary material for this article, please visit

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Political Science Research and Methods
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