The Welfare State, Multicultural Policies, and Trust: Examining the Determinants of Immigrant Integration

22 Pages Posted: 13 Aug 2009 Last revised: 16 Sep 2009

See all articles by Regan W. Damron

Regan W. Damron

The Center for the Study of Global Issues (Globis)

Date Written: 2009


This paper examines the institutional and attitudinal determinants of immigrant integration. It focuses on three principle factors -- the welfare state, multiculturalist policies, and trust -- and the interplay between them. Thus, it speaks to lively debates in the literature. For example, some have argued that integration is less likely in more generous welfare states, while others have said that such welfare states foster a 'logic of inclusion,' an enhanced sense of community that is more conducive to integration.

Competing arguments also exist regarding the effects of multiculturalist policies. According to their critics, they function to exacerbate differences, fragmenting the civic, political, and even moral communities that underpin a society -- all of which have negative consequences for immigrant integration. However, the proponents of multiculturalism argue that cultural neutrality is a myth because all countries have a dominant culture, so treating all cultures equally is de facto discrimination. As a result, these observers argue that the best way to welcome immigrants is to actively accommodate cultural differences through multicultural policies.

Recently, scholars have also argued that interpersonal trust mediates the relationships between natives and newcomers. This paper thus investigates whether attitudinal determinants such as social trust may impact integration. In order to statistically test these arguments, the paper employs a Bayesian framework and uses an artificial neural network to develop a novel cross-nationally comparable measure of integration for use as the dependent variable.

Keywords: immigration, migration, integration, incorporation, assimilation, welfare state, decommodification, multiculturalism, liberal universalism, multicultural policies, Bayesian statistics, artificial neural network

JEL Classification: A13, A14, C11, D63, I38, J15, O15

Suggested Citation

Damron, Regan W., The Welfare State, Multicultural Policies, and Trust: Examining the Determinants of Immigrant Integration (2009). APSA 2009 Toronto Meeting Paper, Available at SSRN:

Regan W. Damron (Contact Author)

The Center for the Study of Global Issues (Globis) ( email )

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