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INTerEthnic Relationships in contemporAry CommuniTies: How does ethnoracial diversity affect in- and out-group trust, solidarity, and cooperation

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - INTERACT (INTerEthnic Relationships in contemporAry CommuniTies: How does ethnoracial diversity affect in- and out-group trust, solidarity, and cooperation)

Reporting period: 2018-07-01 to 2019-11-30

The increasingly multiethnic nature of modern societies has spurred academic interest in the consequences of diversity. Recent scholarship has linked ethnoracial diversity to undesirable collective outcomes, e.g. low levels of trust, civic engagement, and social capital. These findings have important policy implications, in part because they resonate with public anxieties about immigration, residential integration, and the role of the welfare state. The INTERACT project investigates the micro-mechanisms through which contact promotes or impedes solidarity and cooperation in diverse communities. More generally, this research moves beyond communitarian conceptions of social capital to understand the building blocks of solidarity in contemporary, diverse societies.

We ask three main questions. First of all, since ethnically diverse communities are often also poor communities, we ask whether cooperation in diverse communities is undermined by ethnic diversity or by diffused poverty. Second, we investigate how does ‘first’, sustained contact with out-group members affect levels of solidarity and cooperation, and to what extent does it modify pre-existing beliefs about the out-group. Third, we focus on specific micro-level mechanisms. How do individuals transcend group boundaries, and develop trust toward a ‘generalized other’? Does in-group trust extent to the out-group, or does in-group cohesion go hand in hand with out-group exclusion? What makes cooperation in heterogeneous communities difficult? Absence of solidarity, or difficulty in communication and sanctioning?
"I here organize the work performed according to the three major research questions that drove our research. For each of them I list major data collections and publications/working papers.

Q1: Is cooperation in diverse communities undermined by ethnic diversity or by diffused poverty?

1.a\ Analysis of SOEP secondary data combined with fine-grained measures of the local context. The study confirms, the negative correlation between ethnic diversity and lowered cooperation potential.

J. Gereke, M. Schaub, D. Baldassarri 2018. “Ethnic diversity, poverty and social trust in Germany: Evidence from a behavioral measure of trust”, PLOS ONE, 13(7).

1.b\ We developed a strategic cooperation game where we vary the income and racial identity of the interaction partner. We find that beliefs about how poor people behave have clear detrimental effects on cooperation: cooperation is lower when people are paired with low-income partners, and the effect is particularly strong when low-income people interact among themselves. We observe additional discrimination along racial lines when the interaction partner is poor.

M. Schaub, D. Baldassarri, J. Gereke 2019. “Does poverty undermine cooperation in multiethnic settings? Evidence from a cooperative investment experiment”, Journal of Experimental Political Science.

1.c\ We study whether there is a negative effect of poverty on pro-social behavior and political engagement. By randomly assigning low-income households in Germany to an online survey before or after payday, we exploit variation in short-term poverty.The survey (N= 3,900) has been conducted in the early Fall 2019 and we are currently analyzing the data.

Q2: How does ‘first’, sustained contact with out-group members affect levels of solidarity and cooperation? And to what extent does it modify pre-existing beliefs about the out-group?

2.a\ Our study asks how local exposure to refugees affects right-wing support and anti-immigrant sentiments in Germany’s eastern regions. We collected original data through an incentivized online survey among 1,320 East German citizens. A policy allocating refugees following strict administrative rules, and a matching procedure on municipality level allow for causal identification. Our results confirm the presence of widespread anti-immigrant sentiments. However, attitudes toward immigrants are not affected by the physical arrival of refugees in respondents’ hometowns.

M. Schaub, J. Gereke and D. Baldassarri, “Strangers in Hostile Lands: Exposure to Refugees and Right-wing Support”, under review.

2.b\ A second manuscript examines differences in pro-sociality of Germans towards immigrant men and women and towards Muslim immigrants. We find that natives are significantly less likely to be pro-social towards and trust immigrant men than native men but that immigrant women and native women experience similar levels of pro-sociality. Furthermore, we find greater in-group bias toward immigrant women wearing a headscarf, pointing to an additional layer of religious discrimination.

J. Gereke, M. Schaub, D. Baldassarri “Exposure to refugees and pro-social behavior towards male and female immigrants”, in preparation for Frontiers in Sociology

2.c\ We study the extent to which minorities face more subtle forms of “covert"" discrimination in everyday encounters, by running several field experiments in public spaces, such as metro stations and crosswalks in Milan, Italy to measure physical aversion to immigrants. Our experimental treatments manipulated phenotype and signals of socioeconomic status .

Zhang, Nan, Johanna Gereke and Delia Baldassarri (2019): Covert discrimination is unaffected by immigrants' socioeconomic status, working paper.

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Q3: How does cooperation emerge in complex, diverse societies?

We collected experimental data on intergroup dynamics in the city of Milan during the fall 2017 and winter 2018. Namely, a random sample of Milanese residents of different ethnicities (560 Italians, 153 Filipinos, and 195 Moroccans) have taken part to a host of activities oriented at understanding micro-dynamics of interaction and prosocial behaviour toward in- and out-group members.

3.a\ We study how both natives and immigrants behave toward coethnics and non-coethnics in different interaction dynamics, and whether discriminatory behavior takes place. We consider both non-strategic interactions, as well as strategic interactions, in which participants' behavior is affected by expectations about alter's behavior, based on his/her trustworthiness or competence. We find that both natives and immigrants show similar levels of altruism toward coethnics and non-coethnic members, and they do not discriminate in strategic interactions involving trust, and value competence and social engagement. However, both groups prefer to interact with Italians when given the possibility to choose.

D. Baldassarri, J. Gereke and M. Schaub “Selection, Discrimination, and Deference in the Interaction between Italians and Immigrants”, working paper.

3.b\ Results from a multi-player public goods game show that cooperation is initially lower in heterogeneous than in homogeneous Italian groups because of both compositional as well as contextual effects. Moreover, peer sanctioning is less effective in bringing about cooperation in some heterogeneous groups but not others.

Gereke, Johanna, Max Schaub and Delia Baldassarri ""Immigration and cooperation: Evidence from a Public Goods Game"", working paper."

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