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How Whites React to Demographic Change: Millennials, Contract, and Identity


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Principal Investigator(s):

Deborah Schildkraut
Tufts University
Email: deborah.schildkraut@tufts.edu
Home page: http://as.tufts.edu/politicalscience/people/faculty/schildkraut

Sample size: 955
Field period: 11/02/2015-01/21/2016

Abstract:

This experiment designed to examine if white Millennials and non-Millennials react similarly to information about demographic trends in the United States. On the one hand, there are reasons to expect whites of all ages to close ranks around their group when they perceive that the group’s status is threatened. Yet it is also plausible that white Millennials might be less likely than older whites to react in such a manner, in part because of their allegedly unique set of experiences growing up in the most diverse American generation to date. The prime is a press release from the U.S. Census Bureau. In the control condition, the press release contains information about geographic mobility in the United States. In the treatment condition, the press release contains information about demographic population projections. Dependent variables include attitudes about immigration policy, affirmative action, and evaluations of ethnic outgroups.

Hypothesis:

The main hypothesis is that white Millennials are less likely to be affected by information about population change than older generations of whites, who are expected to become more politically conservative and develop lower evaluations of nonwhite groups.

Experimental Manipulation(s):

The prime is a press release from the U.S. Census Bureau. In the control condition, the press release contains information about geographic mobility in the United States. In the treatment condition, the press release contains information about demographic population projections.

Outcome Variables:

Dependent variables include attitudes about immigration policy, affirmative action, and evaluations of ethnic outgroups.

Summary of Findings:

White Millennials become more racially conservative on some, but not all, measures after reading about population projections, just as older whites do. In no case do we find that white Millennials are less likely than older whites to be pushed in a conservative direction when they read about Census population projections. When we find significant results for the treatment, they apply to Millennials and Non-Millennials similarly.

References:

Assessing the Political Distinctiveness of White Millennials: How Race and Generation Shape Racial and Political Attitudes in a Changing America To be presented at: Russell Sage Foundation Conference on Immigration and Changing Identities, Feb. 2017, and at the Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, Sept. 2017.

 


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