Social Capital and Ethno-racial Diversity: Learning to Trust in an Immigrant Society

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Abstract

This article builds on the insights of the contact hypothesis and political socialization literatures to go beyond recent findings that racial and ethnic diversity have overwhelmingly negative effects on social capital, particularly generalized trust. Using the Canadian General Social Survey (2003), our results show that despite a negative relationship among adults, younger Canadians with racial and ethnic diversity in their social networks show higher levels of generalized trust. The results seem to confirm that youth socialization experiences with rising diversity and the normalization of diversity in a multicultural environment contribute to beneficial (instead of detrimental) effects of diverse social networks.

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