Michał Krawczyk is a behavioural and experimental economist. He received his PhD from the University of Amsterdam. He currently works for the Competence Centre on Behavioural Insights, Joint Research Centre, European Commission in Brussels, studying i.a. public attitudes toward refugees. He also develops a platform and a series of studies to investigate beliefs and decisions of policy makers.
We study public beliefs about the gender composition of forcibly displaced populations. In an online survey experiment representative of the adult population of six EU countries, respondents consistently underestimated the share of women among the people displaced by the Russian war on Ukraine who had arrived in their country. We show that a randomly applied belief-correction intervention effectively prompted updates in public beliefs, aligning them more closely with actual numbers. We also find evidence that the source of information matters: updates are greater when the intervention cites official statistics rather than other people’s opinions. Despite clear evidence of widespread preference against male migrants, however, the intervention did not alter attitudes or policy support. We identified no statistically significant impact on respondents’ perception of the displaced Ukrainians’ influence on the crime situation in the host country, respondents’ support for refugee family reunification policies or respondents’ perception of migrants’ impact on the economy. While all these measures correlate with beliefs about gender composition, the intervention did not significantly affect any of them.
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