Race, environment, and interracial trust

Thomas J. Rudolph, Elizabeth Popp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Racial diversity and interpersonal trust are often heralded as virtues in liberal societies. Recent research suggests, however, that such diversity may impede the development of interpersonal trust. Using multilevel modeling, this article explores whether community heterogeneity is inherently inimical to the formation of interracial trust or whether its ill effects can be mitigated or even reversed by certain individual-level characteristics. We find minority concentration and minority empowerment have substantively different impacts on interracial trust and that their effects vary across racial groups. The pattern of these effects suggests that minority concentration may not be viewed as a threat. We further find that the negative effects of minority concentration on interracial trust are counteracted by interracial contact. Collectively, our results suggest that the challenges posed by racial diversity to interracial trust are not insurmountable.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)74-89
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Politics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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