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Citation Information

Type Journal Article - Comparative Political Studies
Title Nationalism and ethnic-based trust: Evidence from an African border region
Volume 49
Issue 14
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2016
Page numbers 1819-1854
URL http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0010414016628269
In diverse societies, individuals tend to trust coethnics more than non-coethnics. I argue that identification with a territorially defined nation, common to all ethnic groups, reduces the degree to which trust is ethnically bounded. I conduct a “lab-in-the-field” experiment at the intersection of national and ethnic boundaries in Malawi, which measures strength of national identification, experimentally manipulates national identity salience, and measures trust behaviorally. I find that shared nationality is a robust predictor of trust, equal in magnitude to the impact of shared ethnicity. Furthermore, national identification moderates the degree to which trust is limited to coethnics: While weak national identifiers trust coethnics more than non-coethnics, strong national identifiers are blind to ethnicity. Experimentally increasing national identity salience also eliminates the coethnic trust advantage among weak nationalists. These results offer micro-level evidence that a strong and salient national identity can diminish ethnic barriers to trust in diverse societies.

Related studies

Robinson L, Amanda. "Nationalism and ethnic-based trust: Evidence from an African border region." Comparative Political Studies 49, no. 14 (2016): 1819-1854.
Copyright DataFirst, University of Cape Town