The Effect of Refugee related Violence on Political Trust in the Global South and Europe: A quantitative study of the influence of violence by and against refugees on political trust in Afrobarometer and European Social Survey participating countries
This thesis examines and investigates the effect of refugee related violence on political trust as made possible by the use of a novel and not yet used dataset on refugee related violence: the Political and Societal Violence by and Against Refugees (POSVAR) data set. In combination with Afrobarometer and European Social Survey rounds I construct a political index scale and approximate a panel data set including both surveys for the period 2000 to 2016, which thus in combination with POSVAR takes aim at alleviating two concerns in the literature. First, the lack of emphasis on the region of the world where most refugees are indeed hosted: namely Africa. And secondly, the absence of a large cross-country analysis of the potential influence of hosting refugees on political trust through a concrete mechanism. Through utilizing POSVARs different measures which distinguish between both who the violence is perpetrated by and against, several effects and hypotheses may be explored, and I investigate possible findings inductively.
Ultimately however, the only specific measures producing convincing results is the influence of non-state actor violence against refugees on political trust, and the influence of terrorist attacks against refugees on political trust, and only within the Afrobarometer subset of data. The findings are robust to controls and impart a significant and strong effect on political trust, likely indicating that this form of violence is associated with the state no longer holding a monopoly on the legitimate use of force where such violence takes place, in conjuncture with the likely possibility of non-state actors and terrorists deliberately targeting refugees because they are vulnerable and so-called soft targets.
My findings are otherwise unable to disprove a scapegoating hypothesis and must eventually conclude that the data at hand is insufficient to produce significant and conclusive results on the basis of the remaining other refugee violence related measures – such as government and civilian violence, by and against refugees – and their effect on political trust.