The Effect of 'Surplus' Men on Xenophobia: Panel Data from the Neue Bundesländer

Research question/goal: 

In the absence of manipulation, both the sex ratio at birth and the population sex ratio are remarkably constant in human populations. In large parts of Asia and North Africa, the tradition of son preferences, manifest through sex-selective abortion and discrimination in care practices for girls, has distorted these natural sex ratios. The large cohorts of "surplus" males now reaching adulthood are predominantly of low socioeconomic class, and numerous studies express concerns that their lack of marriageability, and the consequent marginalization in society, may lead to antisocial behaviour, violence, prostitution, and HIV spread.

Although less dramatic in origin and size, qualitatively similar cohorts of "surplus" men have also emerged in the Neue Bundesländer, where disproportionally many women left rural municipalities during the last two decades since re-unification. We study the effects of these cohorts of "surplus" men by combining micro-level survey data on attitudes with municipality-level data on demographics. Using this new panel data set covering all former East German Landeskreise over the last 20 years, we can estimate the direct demographic effects of "surplus" men on cohabitation, marriage, and divorce rates, and the indirect sociological effects of social marginalization on xenophobic attitudes towards foreigners and support for extreme-right parties.

Current stage: 

The project proposal has been rejected by the German Research Foundation (DFG) in 2015. A carefully revised proposal was submitted to the Fritz Thyssen Foundation by the end of 2016 but was rejected in 2017. Data collection was therefore funded by resources from the chair of Sociological Methodology. The collection of registry data (online and on site) was completed in early 2018 and eventually merged with the SOEP and ALLBUS data. The data has been analysed and further manuscripts are in preparation that compose the core of Alexander Scherf's Ph.D. dissertation that will be submitted in March 2019.

Fact sheet

Funding: 
MZES, Uni Mannheim
Duration: 
2012 to 2019
Status: 
in preparation
Data Sources: 
primary data / secondary data
Geographic Space: 
Germany

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