UA Podcast: Ethnic Diversity and Trust in Europe

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Migration and Immigration are a standard part of life yet contreversial topics according to political tides and public opinion in Europe.  The issue of trust, and to what degree there is trust in places where there is great ethnic diversity, is one that can be complex to understand and filled with assumptions that dictate policy and what we perceive to be reality.

In their 2012 study “Ethnic Diversity and European’s Generalised Trust: How Inclusive Immigration Policy Can Aid a Positive Association” Anna Zimdars and Gindo Tampubolon look at how a nation’s policy can impact that level of trust. Today on the podcast, Anna Zimdars joins us to explain both the thinking behind the research and what can be understood from the results.

[powerpress]

Reference: Anna Zimdars, & Gindo Tampubolon (2012). Ethnic Diversity and European’s Generalised Trust: How Inclusive Immigration Policy Can Aid a Positive Association Sociological Research Online DOI: 10.5153/sro.2643

Photo: Resident on Earth / flickr

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    The present article contributes to the discussions of the link as between diversity and social capital levels by focusing on the process linking diversity and trust. We look at country-level policies rather than individual communities and evaluate how policies can influence the relationship between diversity and generalised trust. We analyse Eurobarometer data (2004) using multilevel analysis. We find a positive effect of diversity on trust, controlling for potentially confounding effect at the individual and country level. Furthermore, we find that the inclusiveness of national policies towards migrants matters. More inclusive policies as measured by the migrant integration policy index (Mipex) counterbalance potentially negative effects of increasing diversity. The findings show that while local place is crucial as the locus where diverse ethnic groups interact, countries remain important policy contexts influencing and framing interactions with immigrants. For Europe, there is nothing inevitable about a negative impact of increasing diversity on building cohesive, trusting societies. We conclude by locating our findings within a wider critical literature.