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Contact, Diversity, and Segregation

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  • Uslaner, Eric

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    (Stockholm University Linnaeus Center for Integration Studies - SULCIS)

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    Abstract

    There is a growing concern across the West that diversity (and immigration) has led to a decline in trust and social cohesion. In this working paper, which is based upon the core theoretical chapter of my book under contract to Cambridge University Press, Segregation and Mistrust, I argue that it is not diversity but segregation that drives down trust. I argue that the negative effects of diversity have been overstated, as has the simple idea that contact among people of different backgrounds will build trust. There is stronger evidence for Allport's "optimal contacts," where people have deeper and more frequent contacts based upon a foundation of equality. There is little evidence of a direct link between diverse contacts and trust. Nor is there strong evidence of a negative relationship between diversity and trust. I argue that it is not diversity but residential segregation that drives down trust. To build trust, people must live in neighborhoods that are integrated and diverse-and have heterogenous friendship networks-as Allport and Pettigrew have argued. I show that diversity and segregation are not the same thing and show that segregation leads to both greater inequality and worse outcomes on several measures across American communities and across nations. I also argue that governmental multiculturalism policies reinforce a strong sense of ethnic identity, which leads to high in-group trust at the expense of generalized trust.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Stockholm University Linnaeus Center for Integration Studies - SULCIS in its series SULCIS Working Papers with number 2011:5.

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    Length: 89 pages
    Date of creation: 09 Aug 2011
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:hhs:sulcis:2011_005

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    Postal: Stockholm University Linnaeus Center for Integration Studies - SULCIS, Stockholm University, S-10691 Stockholm, Sweden
    Web page: http://www.su.se/sulcis
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    Related research

    Keywords: trust; segregation; diversity; multiculturalism;

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    References

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    1. Natalia Letki, 2008. "Does Diversity Erode Social Cohesion? Social Capital and Race in British Neighbourhoods," Political Studies, Political Studies Association, vol. 56, pages 99-126, 03.
    2. Catherine Bros, 2010. "Social fragmentation and public goods : polarization, inequality and patronage in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar," Documents de travail du Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne 10026, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1), Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne.
    3. Cutler, David & Vigdor, Jacob & Glaeser, Edward, 1999. "The Rise and Decline of the American Ghetto," Scholarly Articles 2770033, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    4. Wacziarg, Romain & Alesina, Alberto & Devleeschauwer, Arnaud & Easterly, William & Kurlat, Sergio, 2002. "Fractionalization," Research Papers 1744, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
    5. Miguel, Edward & Gugerty, Mary Kay, 2005. "Ethnic diversity, social sanctions, and public goods in Kenya," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(11-12), pages 2325-2368, December.
    6. Vigdor, Jacob & Glaeser, Edward & Cutler, David, 2008. "When Are Ghettos Bad? Lessons from Immigrant Segregation In the United States," Scholarly Articles 2666726, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    7. La Ferrara, Eliana & Mele, Angelo, 2006. "Racial Segregation and Public School Expenditure," CEPR Discussion Papers 5750, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    8. Delhey, Jan & Newton, Kenneth, 2004. "Social trust: global pattern or nordic exceptionalism?," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Inequality and Social Integration SP I 2004-202, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
    9. Alberto Alesina & Ekaterina Zhuravskaya, 2011. "Segregation and the Quality of Government in a Cross Section of Countries," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(5), pages 1872-1911, August.
    10. David M. Cutler & Edward L. Glaeser, 1995. "Are Ghettos Good or Bad?," NBER Working Papers 5163, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Alberto Alesina & Eliana La Ferrara, 2000. "The Determinants of Trust," NBER Working Papers 7621, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Alberto Alesina & Reza Baqir & William Easterly, 1999. "Public Goods And Ethnic Divisions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(4), pages 1243-1284, November.
    13. Tara Watson, 2009. "Inequality and the Measurement of Residential Segregation by Income In American Neighborhoods," NBER Working Papers 14908, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Greif, Avner, 1993. "Contract Enforceability and Economic Institutions in Early Trade: the Maghribi Traders' Coalition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(3), pages 525-48, June.
    15. Samuel Bowles & Glenn C. Loury & Rajiv Sethi, 2014. "Group Inequality," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 12(1), pages 129-152, 02.
    16. Ananat, Elizabeth Oltmans & Washington, Ebonya, 2009. "Segregation and Black political efficacy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(5-6), pages 807-822, June.
    17. Fearon, James D, 2003. " Ethnic and Cultural Diversity by Country," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 8(2), pages 195-222, June.
    18. Fryer, Roland & Echenique, Federico, 2007. "A Measure of Segregation Based on Social Interactions," Scholarly Articles 2958220, Harvard University Department of Economics.
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