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Immigrant Assimilation, Trust and Social Capital

  • Cox, James C.

    ()

    (Georgia State University)

  • Orman, Wafa Hakim

    ()

    (University of Alabama in Huntsville)

Trust is a crucial component of social capital. We use an experimental moonlighting game with a representative sample of the U.S. population, oversampling immigrants, to study trust, positive, and negative reciprocity between first-generation immigrants and native-born Americans as a measure of immigrant assimilation. We also survey subjects in order to relate trusting and trustworthy behavior with demographic characteristics and traditional, survey-based measures of social capital. We find that immigrants are as trusting as native-born U.S. citizens when faced with another native-born citizen, but do not trust other immigrants. Immigrants appear to be less trustworthy overall but this finding disappears when we control for demographic variables and the amount sent by the first mover. The length of time an immigrant has been a naturalized U.S. citizen appears to increase trustworthiness but does not affect trusting behavior. Women and older people are less likely to trust, but no more or less trustworthy.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 5063.

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Length: 43 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp5063
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  1. MICHAEL R. CARTER & Marco Castillo, 2002. "The Economic Impacts of Altruism, Trust and Reciprocity: An Experimental Approach to Social Capital," Wisconsin-Madison Agricultural and Applied Economics Staff Papers 448, Wisconsin-Madison Agricultural and Applied Economics Department.
  2. Ananish Chaudhuri & Lata Gangadharan, 2007. "An Experimental Analysis of Trust and Trustworthiness," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 73(4), pages 959–985, April.
  3. Simon Gaechter & Elke Renner, 2006. "The Effects of (Incentivized) Belief Elicitation in Public Good Experiments," Discussion Papers 2006-16, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
  4. Grootaert Grootaert & Deepa Narayan & Veronica Nyhan Jones & Michael Woolcock, 2004. "Measuring Social Capital : An Integrated Questionnaire," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 15033.
  5. Abbink, Klaus & Bernd Irlenbusch & Elke Renner, 1997. "The Moonlighting Game - An Experimental Study on Reciprocity and Retribution," Discussion Paper Serie B 415, University of Bonn, Germany.
  6. Dufwenberg, Martin & Gneezy, Uri, 2000. "Measuring Beliefs in an Experimental Lost Wallet Game," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 163-182, February.
  7. Glaeser, Edward Ludwig & Laibson, David I. & Scheinkman, Jose A. & Soutter, Christine L., 2000. "Measuring Trust," Scholarly Articles 4481497, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  8. Berg Joyce & Dickhaut John & McCabe Kevin, 1995. "Trust, Reciprocity, and Social History," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 122-142, July.
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