Ethnic Diversity and Social Trust: A Narrative and Meta-Analytical Review

Posted: 17 May 2020

See all articles by Peter Thisted Dinesen

Peter Thisted Dinesen

University of Copenhagen - Department of Political Science

Merlin Schaeffer

University of Copenhagen - Department of Sociology

Kim Mannemar Sønderskov

Aarhus University - Department of Political Science

Date Written: May 2020

Abstract

Does ethnic diversity erode social trust? Continued immigration and corresponding growing ethnic diversity have prompted this essential question for modern societies, but few clear answers have been reached in the sprawling literature. This article reviews the literature on the relationship between ethnic diversity and social trust through a narrative review and a meta-analysis of 1,001 estimates from 87 studies. The review clarifies the core concepts, highlights pertinent debates, and tests core claims from the literature on the relationship between ethnic diversity and social trust. Several results stand out from the meta-analysis. We find a statistically significant negative relationship between ethnic diversity and social trust across all studies. The relationship is stronger for trust in neighbors and when ethnic diversity is measured more locally. Covariate conditioning generally changes the relationship only slightly. The review concludes by discussing avenues for future research.

Suggested Citation

Dinesen, Peter Thisted and Schaeffer, Merlin and Sønderskov, Kim Mannemar, Ethnic Diversity and Social Trust: A Narrative and Meta-Analytical Review (May 2020). Annual Review of Political Science, Vol. 23, pp. 441-465, 2020, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3602498 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1146/annurev-polisci-052918-020708

Peter Thisted Dinesen (Contact Author)

University of Copenhagen - Department of Political Science ( email )

Solbjerg Plads 3
Copenhagen, DK-2100
Denmark

Merlin Schaeffer

University of Copenhagen - Department of Sociology ( email )

Øster Farimagsgade 5, Bld. 16
Copenhagen K, DK-1014
Denmark

Kim Mannemar Sønderskov

Aarhus University - Department of Political Science

Bartholins Allé è
DK-8000 Aarhus, 8000
Denmark

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