English title: Explaining relationships between ethnic diversity and informal social capital across European countries and regions: Tests of constrict, conflict and contact theory

Author(s): Michael Savelkoul - Maurice Gesthuizen - Peer Scheepers -

Language: English

Type: Journal article

Year: 2011

Abstract

In this study we focus on the relationship between ethnic diversity and informal social capital. As this refers to rather strong social ties in the intimate domain, it is a strict test of Putnam’s claim that ethnic diversity would decrease social capital. In order to explain these relationships, we derived mediating mechanisms from conflict and contact theory. Using data from the European Social Survey (2002/2003), we applied multilevel analyses considering three levels: individuals, regions and countries. Our results revealed a direct positive effect of ethnic diversity at the country level on informal helping, yet no indirect effect via the mediating variables. At the regional level, we only found an indirect effect of ethnic diversity. Here, ethnic diversity increases the likelihood of intergroup contact that in turn is positively related to both informal social meeting and helping. Perceived ethnic threat turned out to have a negative effect on informal social meeting.

Volume: 40

Issue: 4

From page no: 1091

To page no: 1107

Refereed: Yes

DOI: 10.1016/J.SSRESEARCH.2011.03.003

Journal: Social Science Research