We analyze whether (correct) information provision on immigration is more effective than contact in shaping attitudes towards immigration. We collect data from a randomized experiment in 18 middle- and high-school classes in the city of Rome. Half of the classes meet a refugee from Mauritania and read a book about his story, whereas the rest of them attend a lecture on figures and numbers on immigration in Italy and the world. On average, students develop better attitudes towards immigration (especially in the case of policy preferences and the perceived number of immigrants in their country) and somewhat improve their feelings associated with immigrants after the information treatment more than they do after the contact treatment. Also, students having received the information treatment strongly adjust their knowledge on immigration. However, students’ individual characteristics (sex and, to a lesser extent, age) affect treatments’ relative effectiveness.

DOI: 10.1016/j.socec.2021.101790
ISSN: 2214-8043
ISBN: 9781800412262,9781800412255