How COVID-19 has Impacted American Attitudes Toward China: A Study on Twitter [article]

Gavin Cook, Junming Huang, Yu Xie
2021 arXiv   pre-print
Past research has studied social determinants of attitudes toward foreign countries. Confounded by potential endogeneity biases due to unobserved factors or reverse causality, the causal impact of these factors on public opinion is usually difficult to establish. Using social media data, we leverage the suddenness of the COVID-19 pandemic to examine whether a major global event has causally changed American views of another country. We collate a database of more than 297 million posts on the
more » ... ial media platform Twitter about China or COVID-19 up to June 2020, and we treat tweeting about COVID-19 as a proxy for individual awareness of COVID-19. Using regression discontinuity and difference-in-difference estimation, we find that awareness of COVID-19 causes a sharp rise in anti-China attitudes. Our work has implications for understanding how self-interest affects policy preference and how Americans view migrant communities.
arXiv:2108.11040v1 fatcat:6skxw4q245gath6p5bfcinc3bi