People

Stephanie Zonszein

PhD Student | Political Science

Stephanie Zonszein is a Postdoctoral Fellow at PDRI.

She is a political scientist studying the political behavior of immigrants and elites in culturally diverse democracies, focusing on how legalization and language accommodation policies can promote immigrants’ integration, and whether such policies foster immigrants’ participation with the host society merely via expressing state and broader societal recognition, and also how immigrants’ integration can be hindered by the attitudes and behaviors of the native-born and the reaction of elites to minority immigrants gaining political power.

She completed her PhD at New York University, and MS and BS in Economics at Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México.

Selected Publications

Gemma DipoppaGuy GrossmanStephanie Zonszein

(2021). “Locked Down, Lashing Out: Situational Triggers and Hateful Behavior Towards Minority Ethnic Immigrant.” Empirical Studies of Conflict Project (ESOC) Working Papers 23, Empirical Studies of Conflict Project.

COVID-19 caused a significant health and economic crisis, a condition identified as conducive to stigmatization and hateful behavior against minority groups. It is however unclear whether the threat of infection triggers violence in addition to stigmatization, and whether a violent reaction can happen at the onset of an unexpected economic shock before social hierarchies can be disrupted.

Using a novel database of hate crimes across Italy, we show that (i) hate crimes against Asians increased substantially at the pandemic onset, and that (ii) the increase was concentrated in cities with higher expected unemployment, but not higher mortality. We then examine individual, local and national mobilization as mechanisms. We find that (iii) local far-right institutions motivate hate crimes, while we find no support for the role of individual prejudice and national discourse.

Our study identifies new conditions triggering hateful behavior, advancing our understanding of factors hindering migrant integration.

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