Trust, Ethnic Diversity, and Personal Contact: A field experiment

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Finseraas, Henning, Torbjørn Hanson, Åshild A Johnsen, Andreas Kotsadam, Gaute Torsvik




Journal of Public Economics

Vol. 173, May 2019, Pages 72-84


We study how close personal contact with minorities affects in-group and out-group trust in a field experiment in the armed forces. Soldiers are randomly assigned to rooms with or without ethnic minorities. At the end of the recruit period, we measure trust by using a trust game. Results indicate that close personal contact with minorities increases trust towards a generic immigrant. We replicate the result that individuals coming from more ethnically diverse areas trust minorities less, but random assignment to interact with minority soldiers removes this negative correlation. We conclude that social integration involving personal contact can reduce negative effects of ethnic diversity on trust.


Oppdragsgiver: Norges Forskningsråd
Oppdragsgivers prosjektnr.: 270772
Frisch prosjekt: 1672 - Sustaining the welfare and working life model in a diversified society