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Where do angry birds tweet? Income inequality and online hate in Italy

Daria Denti and Alessandra Faggian

Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, 2021, vol. 14, issue 3, 483-506

Abstract: Do spatial socioeconomic features influence a digital behaviour like cyberhate? Our contribution provides an answer to this question, showing how high levels of income inequality determine high volumes of hate tweets in Italy. Our findings are robust to potential endogeneity problems of income inequality, as well as to the inclusion of confounding factors and to competing estimation strategies. Additionally, we find that education does not act as a protective factor against cyberhate in unequal places, aligning with existing evidence showing that inequality may trigger intolerance, including among educated people, threatening the perceived stability of social positions. Also, in the Italian case, the perception of economic insecurity fuels cyberhate, alongside the transmission of self-interest values along family generations. The latter finding relates to existing evidence supporting the role of persistent social norms in shaping people’s attitudes.

Keywords: hate; online behaviour; inequality; self-interest; conflict (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society is currently edited by Susan Christopherson, Betsy Donald, Harry Garretsen, Meric Gertler, Amy Glasmeier, Mia Gray, Michael Kitson, Linda Lobao, Ron Martin, Linda McDowell, Jonathan Michie and Peter Tyler

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