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Ethnic Diversity and Social Trust: A Multilevel Analysis of 3200 School Classes in 22 Countries

Conference contribution
Authors Andrej Kokkonen
Peter Esaiasson
Mikael Gilljam
Published in Annual Meeting of American Political Science Association, Seattle
Publication year 2011
Published at Department of Political Science
Language en
Keywords Ethnicity, Social trust; Political trust; Contact hypothesis
Subject categories Social Sciences

Abstract

be traced to the fact that scholars have focused on different contexts. Whereas some focus at effects of cross-country differences in ethnic diversity others focus on effects of within-country differences in the ethnic composition of neighborhoods. The latter studies also tend to focus on very different kinds of neighborhoods, such as cities, census tracts, zip-code areas and other contexts that vary in size between countries. Further contributing to the complexities involved, the origin of ethnic divide – historically anchored differences or more recent migration based divides – may make a difference. The main contribution of this paper is that it provides a study that simultaneously explores the effects of migration based ethnic diversity at the country level and the neighborhood level using similarly defined neighborhoods from several countries. These differences in design make it difficult to draw more general conclusions from the research. The main contribution of this paper is that it provides a study that simultaneously explores the effects of ethnic diversity at the country level and the neighborhood level using similarly defined neighborhoods from several countries. Using the 1999 CIVED data set, which contains 60 000 young respondents from 3200 neighborhoods (school classes) from 22 countries we find that that ethnic diversity has a moderate negative effect on social trust at the country level. In contrast, ethnic diversity at the school class level does not affect social trust negatively in most countries. However, the effect varies between countries and is significant (mostly negative) in a few. Taking this variation into account is crucial in order to capture the real effect at the country level. Thus, the context matters.

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