Discrimination, anti-prejudice norms and public support for multicultural policies in Europe: the case of religious schools

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This study examines public support for a key contested multicultural policy
in contemporary Europe: the provision of religious schools. It makes two
main contributions, one substantive and one theoretical. Substantively, the
main contribution is to provide new experimental evidence demonstrating
the existence of discrimination against Muslims on a central issue of
multicultural social policy. Theoretically, the main contribution is to propose
an explanation for variations in patterns of discrimination that highlights the
role of individuals’ motivation to control prejudice. Through moderation
analysis, we show that individuals who express stronger motivation to
control prejudice are more likely to treat Muslim and Christian requests for
religious schools equally, and they are more likely to retain their support
for Muslim schools in the wake of a threatening Islamist terrorist incident.
Because we conducted the experiments in three countries, we in addition
find societal-level patterns of variation: Individuals’ motivation to control prejudice is more strongly associated with nondiscriminatory responses
to the question of religious schools where a more multicultural path of
accommodation has been pursued. This societal-level variation raises new
hypotheses about how multicultural policies may interact with public opinion
and underlines the importance of comparative experimental work.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
JournalComparative Political Studies
Early online date28 Feb 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Related information


View all