Diversity and Social Capital in the U.S: A Tale of Conflict, Contact or Total Mistrust?

37 Pages Posted: 16 Aug 2014

See all articles by Willie J. Belton

Willie J. Belton

Georgia Institute of Technology - School of Economics

Yameen Huq

Georgia Institute of Technology

Ruth Uwaifo Oyelere

Morehouse College; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Abstract

In this paper we explore the relationship between ethnic fractionalization and social capital. First, we test for time differences in the impact of ethnic fractionalization on social capital using U.S. data from 1990, 1997 and 2005. Subsequently we examine the data for evidence of the conflict, contact and hunker-down theories espoused by Putman in explaining what happens over time when individuals interact with those of differing ethnicities. We find no evidence of heterogeneity in the impact of ethnic fractionalization on social capital over time. In addition we find evidence of the conflict theory and no evidence of hunker-down or contact theories. Our results suggest that as communities become more diverse, there is a tendency for social capital to decline.

Keywords: ethnic fractionalization, social capital, trust, diversity, social networks

JEL Classification: D71, Z10, J10, J19

Suggested Citation

Belton, Willie J. and Huq, Yameen and Uwaifo Oyelere, Ruth, Diversity and Social Capital in the U.S: A Tale of Conflict, Contact or Total Mistrust?. IZA Discussion Paper No. 8384, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2481573 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2481573

Willie J. Belton (Contact Author)

Georgia Institute of Technology - School of Economics ( email )

217 Habersham
Atlanta, GA 30332
United States

Yameen Huq

Georgia Institute of Technology

Atlanta, GA 30332
United States

Ruth Uwaifo Oyelere

Morehouse College ( email )

Department of Economics
Atlanta, GA 30332
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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