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On Normative Effects of Immigration Law.pdf
Stanford Journal of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (2017)
  • Emily Ryo
Can laws shape and mold our attitudes, values, and social norms, and if so, how do immigration laws affect our attitudes or views toward minority groups?  I explore these questions through a randomized laboratory experiment that examines whether and to what extent short-term exposures to anti-immigration and pro-immigration laws affect people’s implicit and explicit attitudes toward Latinos.  My analysis shows that exposure to an anti-immigration law is associated with increased perceptions among study participants that Latinos are unintelligent and law-breaking.  In contrast, I find no evidence that exposure to pro-immigration laws promoted positive attitudes toward Latinos.  Taken together, these results suggest that exposure to anti-immigration laws can easily trigger negative racial attitudes, but fostering positive racial attitudes through pro-immigration laws might be substantially more difficult.  I argue that a fuller appreciation of the impacts of immigration laws requires an understanding of their normative effects.  I conclude by discussing the directions for future research on law, racial attitudes, and intergroup relations, and the policy implications of my findings.
  • immigration law,
  • racial attitudes,
  • implicit bias,
  • explicit bias,
  • expressive theory of law
Publication Date
Winter 2017
Citation Information
Emily Ryo. "On Normative Effects of Immigration Law.pdf" Stanford Journal of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Vol. forthcoming (2017)
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