Hate crime is a pervasive problem across societies. Though perpetrators represent a small share of the population, their actions continue in part because they enjoy community support. But we know very little about this wider community of support; existing surveys do not measure whether citizens approve of hate crime. Focusing on Germany, where antiminority violence is entrenched, this paper uses original surveys to provide systematic evidence on the nature and impacts of hate crime support. Employing direct and indirect measures, I find that significant shares of the population support antirefugee hate crime and that the profile of supporters is broad, going much beyond common perpetrator types. I next use a candidate choice experiment to show that this support has disturbing political consequences: among radical right voters, hate crime supporters prefer candidates who endorse using gun violence against refugees. I conclude that a significant number of citizens empower potential perpetrators from the bottom–up and further legitimize hate crime from the top–down by championing violence-promoting political elites.
|Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
|Published - Feb 14 2023
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- hate crime
- political behavior
- political violence
- radical right