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New Article by Abdelaaty and Thorson Explores the Prevalence of Misperceptions About Refugee Policy

Oct 20, 2022

Misperceptions about Refugee Policy

Lamis Abdelaaty, Emily Thorson

American Political Science Review, October 2022

Lamis Abdelaaty

Lamis Abdelaaty

Emily Thorson

Emily Thorson

This letter explores the prevalence of misperceptions about refugee policy and tests whether correcting these misperceptions changes attitudes toward refugees. Large numbers of people hold misperceptions about both the nature and effects of refugee policy.

An experiment directly compares the effects of correcting misperceptions about existing refugee policy (e.g., the refugee admission process) with correcting misperceptions about the outcomes of refugee policy (e.g., the proportion of refugees in the United States and the percentage who receive welfare benefits).

Corrective information about existing policy substantially increases support for refugees, but corrective information about policy outcomes has no effect on attitudes.

The results suggest that including descriptive information about existing U.S. policy in media coverage of refugees could both correct misperceptions and change attitudes.

Campbell Public Affairs Institute
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