Alberto Alesina o.a.: Om social kapital og multikultur

Fra ”Who trusts others?” af A. Alesina (Harvard University) og Eliana La Ferrara (Università Bocconi):

“Our prior is that most individuals are less inclined to trust those who are different from themselves, because familiarity bread trust, as pointed out and discussed by Coleman (1990). Recent experimental results by Barr (1999) and Glaeser el al (2000) point exactly in that direction.(s.1) […]

The effect of social interactions on trust are likely to imply complementaries leading to a “two equilibrium” phenomenon. In the Good” equilibrium (more likely to occur in homogeneous communities) individuals trust each other and for that reason more and more trust is built. In the “bad” equilibrium (more likely to happen in a heterogeneous communities ) the low level of trust reduces trust building opportunities even more. […] The idea is that that heterogeneous groups have more difficulties in sharing the use and the financing of public goods; perhaps, as the present paper suggests, because they do not “trust” each other. Glaeser, Shrinkman and Shleifer (1995), Poterba (1996), Luttmer (1997) and Goldin and Katz (1999) discuss the effects of racial fragmentation for several specific issues. Alesina, Baqir and Hoxby (1999) show that the formation of political jurisdictions is strongly influenced by a desire to reduce racial mixing in public policies. Work on international data leads to similar results; La Porta et al (1999) show that the “quality of government” is higher in less fragmented societies; Easterly and Levine (1997) show that growth is lower in more ethnically fragmented counties. (s.2) […]

In summery, table 3 has shown that racial and income heterogeneity are more significantly associated with trust, and, amongst the two, racial fragmentation of a community has the strongest relationship. In other words, people are more likely to trust others in an unequal city than in a racially fragmented one. (s.13) […]

The effect of heterogeneity on trust is in large partly due to the fact that individuals trust those more similar to themselves. […] That is, the benefits of more homogeneous communities in terms of increased social harmony may come at the cost of making, in the long run, the “melting pot fail, possibly countervailing any short run increase in trust.” (Fra konklusion)

Fra “Political jurisdiction in heterogeneous communities” af A. Alesina (Harvard University), Reza Baqir (International Monetary Fund) og Caroline Hoxby (Harvard University):

"There are two reasons why individuals might prefer homogeneity. One is that individuals who share an ethnic background, race, income, or religion may have more similar preferences over public policies than those do not. The other reason is that people may actually have similar preferences as people in other groups do, but they may nevertheless prefer to interact with people in their own group. So for instance, a white person may prefer a mainly – white school not because the curriculum is different from mainly black schools, but simply because he prefers to interact with individuals of his own race.” […]

(Fra konklusion:) “The tradeoff between economies of scale and heterogeneity is an important determinant of the number and size of local political jurisdictions in the United states. Racial heterogeneity consistently has a significant positive effect on the number of local jurisdictions. That is, there is strong evidence that people are willing to sacrifice economies of scale in order to avoid racial hetrogeneity in their local jurisdiction. Most of the evidence supports the existence of tradeoff between income heterogeneity and economies of scale, but the tradeoff is less robust to altering the specification than is the tradeoff with racial heterogeneity. […] Our most striking result is the importance of racial heterogeneity relative to income heterogeneity. It is conventional to assert that households sort themselves among jurisdictions on the basis of income, if for no other reason that they to avoid redistribution through the financing of public goods. However, heterogeneity of preferences and avoidance receive very little attention from analysts of local public goods. Indeed, the vast majority of models of local jurisdictions that households care exclusively about the income of other residents. Our work suggests that diverse preferences and avoidance of interaction play at least as important a role as income, perhaps even more important role. Moreover, our results suggest that race ethnicity are important determinats of these preferences.”

From “Why dosesn´t the United states have a European-style welfare state?” af A. Alesina (Harvard University), E. Glaeser (Harvard University) og B. Sacerdote (Dartmouth University):

“Racial discord plays a critical role in determining beliefs about the poor. Since racial minorities are highly overrepresented among the poorest Americans, any income –based redistribution measures will redistribute disproportionately to these minorities. Opponents of redistribution in the United states have regularly used race- based rhetoric to resist left – wing policies. Across countries, racial fragmentation is a powerful predictor of redistribution. Within the United states, race is the single most important predictor of support for welfare. America´s troubled race relations are clearly a major reason for the absence of an American welfare state. (s.3) […]

The economic literature on determinants of altruism is limited. We know of two main stands. First, a substantial body of work, following Gary Becker, argues that people like people of their own race more than they like people of other races. Second, a smaller and more recent body of work explores the concept of reciprocal altruism: that people feel altruistic toward those who are good to them and vengeful toward those who take advantage of them. In the welfare context, reciprocal altruism means that people will vehemently oppose welfare if they believe that welfare recipients are taking advantage of the system. […]

Alesina and La Farrara show that participation in social activities involving direct contact between individuals is lower in racially fragmented communities in the United states. The same authors show that trust is higher in more homogeneous communities. Work by Glaeser and others documents experimentally that people of different races are more likely to cheat one another. (s.41) […] Denise DiPasquale and Glaeser document that racial heterogeneity is closely linked to the incidence of riots. […] In other parts of the world, religious cleaves(for instance) may be much more deeply felt than racial ones, but in the United States the most salient dividing line is race. […] We do not really know why interpersonal altruism seems linked to race. It is possible that human beings are hard- wired to dislike people with different skin color. A more reasonable theory is that human beings are genetically programmed to form in- group, out- group associations and to prefer members of what they perceive as their own group. (s.41)

Southern political leaders pushed a racist philosophy as an excuse for taking on the basis of race ( and not income). We do not know why altruism seems to be lower between races than within them, but certainly a vast amount of evidence suggests that racial prejudice is a real and enduring feature of American landscape. (s.42) […]

Hard evidence on the importance of race and in-group status in the support for welfare corroborates these anecdotes. Erzo Luttmer, using data from the General Social Survey in the United States, finds that support for welfare is greater among people to many welfare recipients who are of the same race. This supports the idea that geographic isolation from the poor may lead Americans to think of them as members of some out – group.” […] Conversely, support for welfare is lower among people who live near welfare recipients of a different race. The difference between within- race and across- race effects seems to mean that people have a negative, hostile reaction when they see welfare recipients of a diffent race, and a sympathetic reaction when they see welfare recipients of their own race. Alesina, Baqir, and William Easterly use data on U.S cites, metropolitan areas, and countries to look at the effect of a race on redistribution. They find that states that are more ethnically fragmented spend a smaller fraction of their budget on social services and productive public goods, and more on crime prevention and (probably) on patronage. (s.43)

“Racial Issues in Europe” af Alberto Alesina (Harvard University) Francesco Giavazzi ( Università Bocconi)
. Kommentar bragt internationale aviser efter det franske og hollandske valg.

”The first step is to address racial politics is to understand the origin and consequence of racial animosity, even if it means uncovering unpleasant truths: this is precisely what a large amount of research shows in economics, sociology, psychology and political science has done for the U.S. The research shows that people of different races trust each other much less: whites are less willing to support welfare spending because it is perceived to favor minorities; more radically fragmented communities have efficient governments, more corruption and patronage, more crime and fewer productive per tax dollar. […] What have happened in recent weeks shows that the problem is much deeper and, like in the U.S, stems from the sad truth that race relations are inherently difficult and trust and cooperative behavior does not travel well across racial lines. If the mainstream parties do not begin a more serious investment in understanding racial tensions in Europe and put “race” as one of their main priorities, individuals like Le Pen are bound to try filling the void with their message of hate.”