We investigate how the salience of an ethnic minority affects the majority group's voting behavior. We use the increased salience of Muslim communities during Ramadan as a natural experiment. Exploiting exogenous variation in the distance of election dates to Ramadan over the 1980-2013 period in Germany, our findings reveal an increased polarization. Vote shares for both right- and left-wing extremist parties increase in municipalities with mosques when an election takes place shortly after Ramadan. We use survey data to provide evidence on mechanisms: Ramadan increases respondents' perceived share of the foreign-born population and emphasizes cultural dissimilarities, ultimately worsening attitudes towards Muslims.
|Number of pages||37|
|Journal||AMERICAN ECONOMIC JOURNAL. APPLIED ECONOMICS|
|Publication status||Published - 2021|