Perry World House, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia,

October 4-5, 2019

Organized by

Nicholas Sambanis



Donghyun Danny Choi & Mathias Poertner





In-group bias and out-group prejudice are pervasive features of human behavior, motivating various forms of discrimination and conflict ranging from discrimination in the labor market, to racial profiling in criminal justice, and mass atrocities, terrorism, and genocide. In an era of increased cross-border migration, these innate tendencies exacerbate inter-group conflict between host populations and immigrant groups, fueling political extremism and raising the question of how conflict can be overcome.  European liberal democracies have opened their borders to immigrants from different national, religious, and ethnic backgrounds and have developed various models of “multiculturalist” politics to integrate them socially and economically.  Multi-culturalism, however, is increasingly coming under attack in Europe as in other parts of world.  While rich Western countries are debating ways to erect barriers to limit cross-border migration, displacements due to war or natural disasters are increasing, as is the need to assist affected populations and develop strategies to manage social conflicts arising from mass migration.


The Conference on Immigration: Research Frontiers & Policy Challenges will explore the politics, economics, and psychology of immigration, focusing on causes and consequences of inter-personal and inter-group conflict between hosts and immigrants; analyzing the determinants of successful cultural integration; exploring the meaning and content of immigrant “integration,” “assimilation,” or “accommodation” policies in the context of evolving ideas about how to best structure multi-cultural democracies. Do host populations discriminate against immigrants and why? Do perceptions of cultural threat influence host populations’ attitudes toward immigrants? Are such perceptions justified? What lessons can we draw from past eras of mass migration? Does increased contact with immigrant populations reduce prejudice and conflict or does it increase it?  How do immigration issues shape citizens’ political behavior? The conference will facilitate a deeper understanding of these questions and will propose answers that will inform the academic literature and policy-making.


The conference is concerned with how native populations define the social space between them and “others” in an increasingly globalized world in which culture and group identities are constantly evolving.  We seek thought-provoking papers that are grounded in theory while providing rigorous and original empirical analyses that address questions of vital practical, normative, and policy importance.  We are open with regard to methodological approach and encourage applications from researchers across the social sciences.  Several topics are of interest, including institutional solutions to conflict arising from transnational migration; causes of inter-group conflict; analysis of cultural integration programs; effects of immigration on host countries.


Interested scholars should submit one-page abstracts for consideration by April 15, 2019.  Paper drafts must be submitted by September 1, 2019 in order to be accepted in the program.  We will cover travel and accommodation expenses for all participants. Abstracts should be no longer than 500 words and may be submitted through the following link:


Please direct questions to Danny Choi (