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The Political Economy of Hatred
Edward Glaeser
The Quarterly Journal of Economics
Traviss Cassidy and Salama Freed
June 14, 2011
Outline of Discussion
Basic Tenets of Hatred
The Hatred Model: Basic Sequence
The Hatred Model: Expected Benefits
The Hatred Model: Stage 2
The Hatred Model: Stages 1 and 3
– Racism in the American South United States
– Anti-Semitism in 19th Century Europe
– Islamic Hatred of Americans
Basic Tenets of Hatred
• “People say they hate because the object of their hatred is
evil.”(Glaeser, 2005)
• Hatred “stems from seeing oneself under attack” (Baumeister,
• Hatred is often a characteristic of an entire group, not just
those who are actually guilty of the crimes from which the
hatred stems.
• Glaeser argues in this paper that the spread of hatred is
successful when voters have little incentive to investigate and
dispute a false signal.
The Hatred Model
The Basic Sequence
• Politicians spread hatred when their policies will harm a
particular group in an effort to create desire to exclude or
deprive the particular group.
• There are four periods of the model:
– Politician decide to spread hate filled message about particular group
(“out-group”) to those not a member of that group (“in-group”).
– In-group members receive signal, decide on a series of two actions
• Whether the allegation deserves investigation, and
• If credible, whether to protect themselves against out-group.
– Members of both groups vote, and the winning politician gets their
– Out-group members may harm in-group members as a result of
policies implemented
The Hatred Model
Expected Benefits
• Three main constituents seek to maximize what is
important to them:
– Politicians maximize expected support minus the total
cost of their campaign.
– The in-group maximizes expected utility through all actions
in the game where
Utility= Net Income +Expected harm from out-group – investigation
costs – self-protection costs
– The out-group maximizes their net income.
Note they are passive in the basic model (in that they are not
receiving additional benefits) but are given an opportunity to
become active in the future.
The Hatred Model
The Basic Sequence
Stage 2
In-group receives
signal of out-group
Out-group is harmful
with probability one or
θ /(θ +φ(1-θ)) based
on distribution
Politician sends false
signal to in-group
of harmful nature of
In-group chooses to
protect themselves
Out-group is harmful
Out-group is harmless
Do nothing
The Hatred Model
Stage 2: The Response to Potential Harm
• After receiving a signal, the in-group:
– Decides whether to spend S to investigate the signal, then
– Chooses whether to spend R to protect themselves from potential harm
or reduce damages from said harm (by a factor of δ<1)
• Note the benefit they will receive from protecting themselves outweighs the amount
spent for in-group to protect themselves, so self-protection is optimal
• Prop 1: Investigating and learning the truth of a story is only
optimal iff the cost of the search is less than the gains from the
– The cost of investigating the signal varies among the in-group, based on
prior knowledge, frequent contact, or education, as well as other factors.
• Less educated people will tend to dismiss false stories (and will likely have means to
search for truth)
• People who have frequent contact with the out-group will dismiss false stories as well.
The Hatred Model
Stage 2: The Response to Potential Harm
• The expected costs of the in-group protecting themselves are
based on their decision to investigate:
– If they choose not to investigate , expected cost is cost of selfprotection plus reduced damage due to self protection (regardless of
whether group is harmful).
– If they choose to investigate:
• If the story is false, expected cost from self-protection and damage is zero
• If the story is true, expected cost is the cost of self-protection plus the reduced cost
of damage after self-protection.
• Total expected cost of protection is
𝜽 𝜹𝒅𝒚𝟎 + 𝐫
𝜽+𝝋 𝟏−𝜽
Where 𝒅𝒚𝟎 is the damage to the in-group’s net income, 𝜽 is the probability an outgroup is harmful, and 𝝋 is probability a politician will spread a false message.
The Hatred Model
Stage 2: The Response to Potential Harm
• When the out-group is harmful, politicians do nothing because the
message will be transmitted without their additional help and at no cost
to them.
– The portion of the in-group who has chosen to investigate believes that the outgroup is harmful with probability one.
– The portion of the in-group who has not chosen to investigate believes that the
out-group is harmful with probability 𝜃/(𝜃 + 𝜑 1 − 𝜃 )
• Note that the probability of success by politicians to spread negative messages adversely
affects the in-group’s ability to discern a truly harmful group from a harmless one who has
been negatively targeted.
• If the out-group is harmless and the politician sends a false message:
– A share who has chosen not to investigate believes the group is harmful with
probability 𝜃/(𝜃 + 𝜑 1 − 𝜃 ).
– The share who has chosen to investigate finds that the message is false and
believes the group is harmful with probability zero.
• We will focus on the spread of negative messages and hatred
of a harmless group.
The Hatred Model
Stage 1: The Supply of Hatred
• Politicians can spread hatred among in-group members at
cost K.
– K differs across politicians based on their abilities to effectively spread
hate and the ability to distort the truth.
– Voters do not know the value of K, but do know that K is drawn from a
• Assuming two politicians with the fixed government policies
of redistribution based on income:
– Income of both the in-group and out-group is characterized by a
continuous distribution 𝒇𝟎 𝒚 and 𝒇𝟏 (𝒚)
– The mean income of the in-group minus mean income of the outgroup is ∆𝑦 = 𝑝∆𝑦 + (1 − 𝑝)∆𝑦, where p is the proportion of the
population that belongs to the out-group
The Hatred Model
Stage 1: The Supply of Hatred
• Our two candidates propose a tax level τ on their income
– People whose income is below the average receives a transfer in the
amount of 𝝉(𝒚 − 𝒚).
– The two candidates propose two different tax levels,
(𝝉𝑹 and 𝝉𝑨 , where 𝝉𝑹 > 𝝉𝑨 )
• The candidate who is against redistribution proposes tax level 𝝉𝑨
• The candidate who is in favor of redistribution proposes tax level 𝝉𝑹
– Those who support the anti-redistribution candidate:
• Receive a financial gain of (𝝉𝑹 - 𝝉𝑨 ) 𝒚 − 𝒚 .
• Effectively reduce the income of the out-group by a factor of (𝝉𝑹 - 𝝉𝑨 )(𝟏 − 𝒑)∆𝒚
– it is beneficial for those who hate the out-group to reduce that group’s resources.
• Support the hatred spread against the poor out-group
• Are generally the very rich.
The Hatred Model
Stage 1: The Supply of Hatred
• The pro-redistribution candidate is supported :
– By the out-group or those within the in-group who believe the outgroup is harmless only iff (𝝉𝑹 - 𝝉𝑨 ) 𝒚 − 𝒚 > 𝟎
– By haters only if the amount gained from redistribution less the cost of
potential harm done by the out-group after redistribution is net positive.
• Prop. 2: The pro-redistribution candidate benefits from hate iff
∆𝑦 < 0, i.e. if the mean income of the in-group is less than that of
the out-group.
• How do we choose to support a candidate?
– The very poor will always support the pro-redistribution candidate.
– The very rich will always support the anti-redistribution candidate.
– The actions of the middle-income group members will vary , as they will choose to
support the anti-distribution candidate when they hate the out-group.
The Hatred Model
Stage 1: The Supply of Hatred
• Now assume Δ𝑦 >0 (in-group wealthier than out-group)
– Only the anti-redistribution candidate spreads hatred
• Prop. 3: There is a maximum cost K* that the anti-redistribution
candidate is willing to incur to spread hatred
– K* is rising with Δ𝑦 , 𝑑, 𝜃, and 𝛿, and falling with 𝑐𝐴 and 𝑝
– K* falls with the out-group’s proportion (λ) of the electorate
– K* is rising with (the non-stochastic component of) s
– Share of anti-redistribution candidates that spread hatred is falling with
(the non-stochastic component of) K
The Hatred Model
Stage 1: The Supply of Hatred
• φ = G(K*) in equilibrium
– In-group voter’s subjective probability that the politician will send false
signal is endogenous
• Notice the opposing effects of increased information technology
– Technology that lowers the cost of communication lowers s and K
– Lower s means more people will choose to investigate the veracity of a
• Hatred-creating stories less effective
– Lower K means it is easier for politicians to spread hatred-creating stories
• Level of hatred increases
The Hatred Model
Stage 1: Antiminority Policies
• Proposed poll taxes χ𝑅 , χ𝐴 on out-group members
• Support for the anti-redistribution candidate will rise with the level of hatred
iff s/he is less generous to out-group:
– χ𝐴 + 𝜏𝑅 − 𝜏𝐴 1 − 𝑝 Δ𝑦 > χ𝑅
• Prop. 4: (Given that a mathematical condition [p. 63] holds) K* is rising with
𝝌𝑨 and falling with 𝝌𝑹 .
• Anti-minority policies increase supply of hatred when proposed by antiredistribution candidate and decrease supply of hatred when proposed by
pro-redistribution candidate.
• What matters is whether anti-minority policies increase or reduce the
differences in how candidates treat out-groups
The Hatred Model
Stage 1: H8ing the H8erz
• Another way to fight hatred is to build hatred against the hate−creating
• If anti-redistribution candidate spreads hatred, at cost A + α the proredistribution candidate can spread hatred against the anti-redistribution
• Out-group members and in-group members who searched will believe antiredistribution candidate will impose costs of ω > 0.
• Prop. 5: There is a value α* such that A + α* is the maximum amount the
pro-redistribution candidate is willing to pay to villianize the antiredistribution candidate.
• Given two mathematical conditions [p. 64], α* is falling and K* is rising with A
and 𝑐𝑅 , and α* is rising with the proportion of voters who search
The Hatred Model
Noneconomic Issues, Multiple Issue Elections, and
Exclusionary Policies
• We can modify the model to include policies that have affect
individuals through non−income channels.
• 𝑥 : non-income variable
• 𝜏(𝑥 − 𝑥): net tax payment
• Support for the pro-redistribution candidate (p. 65)
• The high tax candidate will support hatred if out-group is well
endowed in 𝑥, and the low tax candidate will support hatred if
out-group is poorly endowed in 𝑥.
• All the previous results still apply
Supporting Historical Examples
• Racism in the United States
• Anti-Semitism in 19th-Century Europe
• Anti-Americanism in the Muslim world