Objective: With an aim of extending the scope of group threat theory from within-country tensions between racial groups to international economic competition, this study specifically examined the impacts of perceived relative economic status of an in-group country on attitudes about contentious political issues with a rival out-group country. Methods: Two survey experiments were administered, both of which manipulated Japanese participants’ perceptions of the relative economic powers of Japan and South Korea. Results: When Japanese perceive that their country's economic power is declining relative to South Korea's economy, they demonstrate more hardline attitudes about territorial and historical issues between the two countries. Conclusion: This study demonstrates the applicability of group threat theory to bilateral international relations. It also suggests that public opinion about international conflicts is a function of the long-term rebalancing of economic power, which cannot be easily influenced by short-term policies.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Sciences(all)