T.W.G. van der Meer
- Losing Wallets, Retaining Trust? The Relationship Between Ethnic Heterogeneity and Trusting Coethnic and Non-coethnic Neighbours and Non-neighbours to Return a Lost Wallet
- Social Indicators Research
- Volume | Issue number
- 131 | 2
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
The constrict claim that ethnic heterogeneity drives down social trust has been empirically tested across the globe. Meta-analyses suggest that neighbourhood ethnic heterogeneity generally undermines ties within the neighbourhood (such as trust in neighbours), but concurrently has an inconsistent or even positive effect on interethnic ties (such as outgroup trust). While the composition of the living environment thus often seems to matter, when and where remain unclear. We contribute to the literature by: (1) scrutinizing the extent to which ethnic heterogeneity drives down trust in coethnic neighbours, non-coethnic neighbours, unknown neighbours and unknown non-neighbours similarly; (2) comparing effects of heterogeneity aggregated to geographical areas that vary in scale and type of boundary; and (3) assessing whether the impact of heterogeneity of the local area depends on the wider geographic context. We test our hypotheses on the Religion in Dutch Society 2011–2012 dataset, supplemented with uniquely detailed GIS-data of Statistics Netherlands. Our dependent variables are four different so-called wallet-items, which we model through spatial and multilevel regression techniques. We demonstrate that both trust in non-coethnic and coethnic neighbours are lower in heterogeneous environments. Trust in people outside the neighbourhood is not affected by local heterogeneity. Measures of heterogeneity aggregated to relatively large scales, such as, administrative municipalities and egohoods with a 4000 m radius, demonstrate the strongest negative relationships with our trust indicators.
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