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Participation in Heterogeneous Communities

  • Alberto Alesina
  • Eliana La Ferrara

This paper studies both theoretically and empirically the determinants of group formation and of the degree of participation when the population is heterogeneous, both in terms of income and race or ethnicity. We are especially interested in whether and how much the degree of heterogeneity in communities influences the amount of participation in different types of groups. Using survey data on group membership and data on US localities, we find that, after controlling for many individual characteristics, participation in social activities is significantly lower in more unequal and in more racially or ethnically fragmented localities. We also find that those individuals who express views against racial mixing are less prone to participate in the groups the more racially heterogeneous their community is.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 7155.

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Date of creation: Jun 1999
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Alesina, Alberto and Elliana La Ferrara. "Participation In Heterogeneous Communities," Quarterly Journal of Economics, 2000, v115(3,Aug), 847-904.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7155
Note: PE
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