Migration Based Ethnic Diversity and Social Trust: A Multilevel Analysis of How Country, Neighborhood and Workplace Diversity Affects Social Trust in 22 Countries

34 Pages Posted: 13 Jul 2012 Last revised: 7 Aug 2014

See all articles by Andrej Kokkonen

Andrej Kokkonen

Göteborg University

Mikael Gilljam

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Peter Esaiasson

University of Gothenburg

Date Written: 2012

Abstract

How does ethnic diversity affect social trust? The Conflict and the Contact hypotheses represent the main competing views. This paper argues that the “true” answer to the question is contingent upon the social unit under study. More specifically, we argue that the former hypothesis is favored by a focus on social units where intergroup contacts can be avoided, whereas the latter hypothesis is supported by a focus on social units where intergroup contacts are unavoidable and supported by higher authorities. Studies that fail to acknowledge this fact by neglecting to take both types of social units into account risk biasing their results. Departing from this argument, the paper presents simultaneous estimates of diversity-effects in social units where people can avoid intergroup contacts (countries and neighborhoods) and social units where intergroup contacts cannot be avoided (workplaces). The results, which are based on the first round of the European Social Survey, covering 30000 individuals from 22 countries, show support for the Conflict hypothesis when the social unit under study is countries and neighborhoods and support for the Contact hypothesis when the social unit is workplaces. We also show that failure to take the latter positive effect into account leads to that the negative country diversity effect is underestimated.

Keywords: Trust, diversity, conflict, contact, constricting

Suggested Citation

Kokkonen, Andrej and Gilljam, Mikael and Esaiasson, Peter, Migration Based Ethnic Diversity and Social Trust: A Multilevel Analysis of How Country, Neighborhood and Workplace Diversity Affects Social Trust in 22 Countries (2012). APSA 2012 Annual Meeting Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2104617

Andrej Kokkonen (Contact Author)

Göteborg University ( email )

Viktoriagatan 30
Göteborg, 405 30
Sweden

Mikael Gilljam

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

No Address Available

Peter Esaiasson

University of Gothenburg ( email )

Box 711
Gothenburg, S-405 30
Sweden

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