Ethnic Minority-Majority Asymmetry in National Attitudes around the World: A Multilevel Analysis



Using data from the International Social Survey Programme, this research investigated asymmetric attitudes of ethnic minorities and majorities towards their country and explored the impact of human development, ethnic diversity, and social inequality as country-level moderators of national attitudes. In line with the general hypothesis of ethnic asymmetry, we found that ethnic, linguistic, and religious majorities were more identified with the nation and more strongly endorsed nationalist ideology than minorities (H1, 33 countries). Multilevel analyses revealed that this pattern of asymmetry was moderated by country-level characteristics: the difference between minorities and majorities was greatest in ethnically diverse countries and in egalitarian, low inequality contexts. We also observed a larger positive correlation between ethnic subgroup identification and both national identification and nationalism for majorities than for minorities (H2, 20 countries). A stronger overall relationship between ethnic and national identification was observed in countries with a low level of human development. The greatest minority-majority differences in the relationship between ethnic identification and national attitudes were found in egalitarian countries with a strong welfare state tradition.