I am a research fellow of the Collaborative Research Center Transregio 224, an associated member to the Cluster of Excellence ECONtribute: Markets & Public Policy, and a briq Student fellow.
Main Research Fields: Applied Microeconomics, Behavioral Economics, Political Economy
The Effects of Face-To-Face Conversations on Polarization: Evidence from a Quasi-Experiment
Do conversations between like-minded individuals exacerbate political polarization whereas conversations between contrary-minded individuals reduce it? We examine this question by exploiting a large-scale quasi-experiment in Germany, in which strangers were paired for unobserved in-person meetings based on their political views. We find that talking to a person with a similar political opinion leads to more extreme political views. By contrast, meeting a contrary-minded person does not affect political views. However, it reduces negative attitudes towards those with opposing political opinions and improves the perception of social cohesion. Together, the results suggest that political in-person conversations among like-minded individuals may increase polarization of views and thus widen the gap between ideological groups, while conversations among contrary-minded individuals can reduce affective but not ideological polarization.
Moral Luck: Existence, Mechanisms, and Prevalence