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A new paper in the Journal of the European Economic Association, published by Oxford University Press, explores the connection between social media and hate crimes. The researchers combined methods from applied microeconomics with text analysis tools to investigate how negative rhetoric about refugees on social media may have contributed to hate crimes against refugees in Germany between 2015 and 2017.


Observers all over the globe have scrutinized social media increasingly over the last few years. News reports often suggest a relationship between fake news, social media “echo chambers,” and online “bot armies” with real-life outcomes. But despite the public interest and demands for policy action, there is little evidence about the relationship between social media content and offline behavior.

In Germany social media is among the main news sources of 18 to 25-year-olds. In the United States, around half of all adults use social media to

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