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Terrorist Attacks and Immigration Rhetoric: A Natural Experiment on British MPs

Daniele Guariso

Working Paper Series from Department of Economics, University of Sussex Business School

Abstract: We study the effects of exogenous shocks on the rhetoric of British politicians on social media. In particular, we focus on the impact of terrorist attacks on the issue of immigration. For this purpose, we collect all the immigration-related Tweets from the active Twitter accounts of MPs using Web Scraping and Machine Learning techniques. Looking at the Manchester bombing of 2017 as our main Event Study, we detect a counterintuitive finding: a substantial decrease in the expected number of immigration-related Tweets occurred after the incident. We hypothesize that this “muting effect” results from risk-averse strategic behaviour of politicians during the election campaign. However, the MPs' response shows remarkable heterogeneity according to the socio-economic characteristics of their constituencies.

Keywords: political behaviour; machine learning; social media; immigration; terrorism (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C81 D72 Z13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-big, nep-eur, nep-mig and nep-pol
Date: 2018-05
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:sus:susewp:1218

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