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Race and trust in post-apartheid South Africa


  • Justine Burns

    () (School of Economics, University of Cape Town)


I examine the impact of racial identity on behavior in trust games played by White, Black and Colored high school students in South Africa. There is a systematic pattern of distrust towards Black partners, even by Black proposers, partially attributable to mistaken expectations. White proposers are significantly less likely to engage in a strategic interaction at all when paired with a Black partner, while Colored and Black proposers engage in exchange but at lower levels than when paired with nonBlacks. However, greater racial diversity in schools and friendship groups is positively and significaantly associated with greater trust towards Black partners.

Suggested Citation

  • Justine Burns, 2004. "Race and trust in post-apartheid South Africa," SALDRU/CSSR Working Papers 078, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.
  • Handle: RePEc:ldr:cssrwp:078

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Hanming Fang & Glenn C. Loury, 2004. "Toward An Economic Theory of Dysfunctional Identity," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1483, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
    2. Matt Andrews, 2008. "Is Black Economic Empowerment a South African Growth Catalyst? (Or Could it Be...)," CID Working Papers 170, Center for International Development at Harvard University.
    3. Luke Condra & Mohammad Isaqzadeh & Sera Linardi, 2016. "Imagined vs. Actual "Others": An Experiment on Interethnic Giving Afghanistan," Framed Field Experiments 00546, The Field Experiments Website.
    4. Tom Lane, 2015. "Discrimination in the laboratory: a meta-analysis," Discussion Papers 2015-03, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.

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