Seminarios del IPP: "Unequal and disunited? Local economic inequality and social trust"

ipp250522.jpgSala María Zambrano 0C9

Por Kim Mannemar Sønderskov (Universidad de Aarhus)

Organiza: IPP-CSIC

Coordina: Francisco Herreros (IPP-CSIC)

Abstract: Social trust is a cornerstone in modern societies, fostering cooperation between strangers. Several studies, however, argue and show that economic inequality is harmful for social trust which suggest that social cohesion might be under pressure from increasing inequality. Yet, the bulk of the supporting evidence behind this prediction comes from cross-sectional studies comparing nations, which comes with concerns of spuriousity and reverse causality. Furthermore, it is not evident that national levels of inequality have any bearing on the degree of inequality that citizens actually experience. This also questions the cross-national results, because experience with inequality is the theoretical mechanism linking trust to inequality. In this study, we circumvent these problems by studying the relationship using individual-level panel data from Denmark on social trust and neighborhood-level economic inequality as well as a range of other neighborhood characteristics. This allows us to measure inequality in a context that likely are experienced by individual, and to isolate the effect of inequality from other economic variables. The results provide no support for a negative effect of inequality on social trust. If anything, the social trust appears to increase in with increasing inequality.

Kim Mannemar Sønderskov is a professor at the Department of Political Science, Aarhus University, and deputy director of the Centre for the Experimental-Philosophical Study of Discrimination at Aarhus University.His areas of research include political behavior and attitude formation, discrimination, social cohesion, and neighborhood effects. One of his recent research projects deals with how the cohesion of society and the mutual trust of citizens are affected by immigration from non-Western countries. In related projects Sønderskov analyses the impact of economic inequality on social cohesion, well-being, political participation, and trust in government. In the context of the Centre for the Experimental-Philosophical Study of Discrimination, Sønderskov analyses contextual drivers of discrimination against immigrants and other minorities.

Sønderskov has done interdisciplinary work in epidemiology and political science by analyzing the consequences of major societal events like terrorism and the COVID-19 pandemic as well as economic inequality on well-being and mental health.

Sønderskov’s works have been published in journal like the American Political Science Review, American Sociological Review, Journal of Politics, British Journal of Political Science, Nature Human Behavior, and American Journal of Epidemiology among others.

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