Department of Political Science

Ethnic Diversity and Social Trust: A Critical Review of the Literature and Suggestions for a Research Agenda

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Due to its wide-ranging implications for social cohesion in diversifying Western countries, the question of the potential negative consequences of ethnic diversity for social trust is arguably the most contentious question in the literature on social trust. In this chapter we critically review the empirical evidence for a negative relationship between contextual ethnic diversity (measured locally within countries) and social trust. We cautiously conclude that there are indications of a negative relationship, although with important variations across study characteristics including national setting, context unit analyzed, and conditioning on moderating influences. Building on the review, we highlight a number of paths for theoretical and methodological advances, which we argue would advance the literature on the relationship between ethnic diversity and social trust.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Social and Political Trust
EditorsEric M. Uslaner
Number of pages30
Place of publicationNew York
PublisherOxford University Press
Publication year2018
ISBN (print)9780190274801
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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