How political context affects immigrants’ social contact dynamics and well-being at work

About this Session


Fri. 12.04. 11:30



Authors – Benjamin Korman, Florian Kunze, Max Reinwald, Sebastian Koos.

Abstract :

The integration of immigrants into host societies is a central challenge for many countries given both the rise in international migration and unique psychosocial stressors these individuals face. Although the successful labor market integration of immigrants can promote their economic independence and broader social integration, rising political polarization in many societies with increasing far-right political support might put integration efforts at risk. Adding to a core assumption of intergroup contact theory (Pettigrew, 1998), we propose that community support for far-right political parties affects how immigrants are treated by their co-workers when entering a new workplace, jeopardizing the benefits of social contact between immigrants and natives. Specifically, we propose that immigrants perceive negative social contact with their colleagues that increases (decreases) over time when employed by a company located in a region with high (low) far-right political support. Perceptions of increasing (decreasing) negative contact will then negatively (positively) affect employees’ well-being, assessed by their emotional exhaustion and job satisfaction. We test and find partial support for our theoretical model in a unique dataset matching 747 trainees in Germany (tracked from day one of their traineeships over a period of 13 weeks) with data from the 2021 German federal election.