This article tests theories of group threat, competition, contact, and shared pain. The author argues that economic downturns undermine rather than increase support for prejudice. The absolute pain of a recession is felt by all groups in society, even if the relative costs are often distributed unevenly across groups. While nationalists can scapegoat minorities for economic woes, competing elites have incentives to adopt economic frames that focus on individual suffering. Empirical support comes from a subnational research design that includes quantitative data from Latvia's 565 localities and from a qualitative analysis of the framing techniques adopted by Latvian political parties.
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