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Questioning the New Liberal Dilemma: Immigrants, Social Networks, and Institutional Fairness

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Many studies suggests a harsh trade off, referred to as the “the new liberal dilemma,” between diversity and immigration and social capital. However, the relationship between immigrant status and trust can be better gauged by considering three interaction variables. First, informal neighbor interaction cushions the negative immigrant effect. Second, a similar role is played by fair treatment by public authorities. Third, no such cushioning interaction occurs from organizational participation. Overall, the results encourage a contingent stance about diversity and social capital. The “minority culture of mistrust” can wither away as a consequence of positive experiences of social interaction and institutional fairness. Because these have a particularly positive impact among immigrants, the trust gap between immigrants and others may, under the right circumstances, be closed at high levels of these variables.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 2010

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  • Comparative Politics is an international journal that publishes scholarly articles devoted to the comparative analysis of political institutions and behavior. It was founded in 1968 to further the development of comparative political theory and the application of comparative theoretical analysis to the empirical investigation of political issues. Comparative Politics communicates new ideas and research findings to social scientists, scholars, and students, and is valued by experts in research organizations, foundations, and consulates throughout the world.
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