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Trust, Inequality, and Ethnic Heterogeneity

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  • Andrew Leigh

    ()
    (SPEAR Centre, RSSS, ANU)

Abstract

Using a large Australian social survey, combined with precise data on neighbourhood characteristics, I explore the factors that affect trust at a local level (‘localised trust’) and at a national level (‘generalised trust’). Trust is positively associated with the respondent’s education, and negatively associated with the amount of time spent commuting. At a neighbourhood level, trust is higher in affluent areas, and lower in ethnically and linguistically heterogeneous communities, with the effect being stronger for linguistic heterogeneity than ethnic heterogeneity. Linguistic heterogeneity reduces localised trust for both natives and immigrants, and reduces generalised trust only for immigrants. Instrumental variables specifications show similar results. By contrast with the United States, there is no apparent relationship between trust and inequality across neighbourhoods in Australia.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 511.

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Length: 22 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:auu:dpaper:511

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Keywords: Trust; social capital; income distribution; immigration; ethnicity;

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  1. Baqir, Reza & Easterly, William & Alesina, Alberto, 1999. "Public Goods and Ethnic Divisions," Scholarly Articles 4551797, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  2. Easterly, W & Levine, R, 1996. "Africa's Growth Tragedy : Policies and Ethnic Divisions," Papers 536, Harvard - Institute for International Development.
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  5. Dustmann, Christian & Preston, Ian, 2001. "Attitudes to Ethic Minorities, Ethnic Context and Location Decisions," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(470), pages 353-73, April.
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    • Glaeser, Edward Ludwig & Laibson, David I. & Scheinkman, Jose A. & Soutter, Christine L., 2000. "Measuring Trust," Scholarly Articles 4481497, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  7. Oriana Bandiera & Iwan Barankay & Imran Rasul, 2005. "Cooperation in collective action," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 13(3), pages 473-498, 07.
  8. Leigh, Andrew, 2006. "Does equality lead to fraternity?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 93(1), pages 121-125, October.
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  11. Boone, Christophe & De Brabander, Bert & van Witteloostuijn, Arjen, 1999. "The impact of personality on behavior in five Prisoner's Dilemma games," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 343-377, June.
  12. Knack, Stephen & Keefer, Philip, 1997. "Does Social Capital Have an Economic Payoff? A Cross-Country Investigation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1251-88, November.
  13. Jacob L. Vigdor, 2004. "Community Composition and Collective Action: Analyzing Initial Mail Response to the 2000 Census," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(1), pages 303-312, February.
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