Samir Khalil, Elias Naumann
Does Contact with Foreigners Reduce Worries about Immigration? A Longitudinal Analysis in Germany

European Sociological Review, 2022: 38, issue 2, pp. 189–201
ISSN: 0266-7215 (print), 1468-2672 (online)

This article examines how contact with perceived foreigners affects natives’ attitudes towards immigration. Using six waves of individual level panel data from Germany (2007–2017), we find that natives’ reported mutual visits with foreigners reduce worries about immigration. However, the results do not imply an increase in this effect in the course of repeated contact. Our analyses also consider the possibility that the effect of out-group contact on attitudes is heterogeneous across social groups. Our results show that contact effects are not restricted to younger age groups but also hold for older age groups. Surprisingly, there are stronger reductions in worries among right-leaning compared to left-leaning individuals.