Can a single gesture really reduce ethnic discrimination in the housing market? In very specific situations, it does indeed appear so! In an article out now at the European Journal of Political Research, jointly with Daniel Auer, we combine a natural experiment with a controlled field experiment to show that after the controversial double-headed Eagle gesture by Granit Xhaka, Xherdan Shaqiri, and Stephan Lichtsteiner led to lower levels of discrimination in the Swiss housing market for at least 3 months — that’s when our observations end.
We discuss the enormous attention the gesture got, but also what made the situation so special: a discussion of double loyalties, immigrant integration, etc. in a positive context. While research has focused on the drivers of exclusion and discrimination, here we hope to contribute something that helps us understand how to counter these negative factors.