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Keywords:

  • deliberative democracy;
  • Belgium;
  • inter-group relations;
  • contact hypothesis

Deliberative democrats assume that political deliberation is capable of transforming citizens’ opinions and attitudes. This article takes this assumption as a starting point and tries to test it empirically by determining whether deliberation in an inter-group setting induces more positive out-group attitudes. Based on data from two deliberative experiments in Belgium, we argue that the overall effect of deliberative quality on attitude change is limited. The most important determinant of changes in out-group attitudes is the group composition. Citizens who are confronted with the out-group are more likely to hold more positive out-group attitudes afterwards.