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Leigh, A. (2006). Trust, Inequality and Ethnic Heterogeneity. Economic Record 82 (258), 268-280.

Using a large Australian social survey, combined with precise data on neighbourhood characteristics, I explore the factors that affect trust at a local level (‘localised trust’) and at a national level (‘generalised trust’). Trust is positively associated with the respondent's education, and negatively associated with the amount of time spent commuting. At a neighbourhood level, trust is higher in affluent areas, and lower in ethnically and linguistically heterogeneous communities, with the effect being stronger for linguistic heterogeneity than ethnic heterogeneity. Linguistic heterogeneity reduces localised trust for both natives and immigrants, and reduces generalised trust only for immigrants. Instrumental variables specifications show similar results. In contrast to the USA, there is no apparent relationship between trust and inequality across neighbourhoods in Australia.


Leigh, Andrew

A father of two sons, Sebastian and Theodore, Andrew lives with his wife Gweneth in Hackett. Prior to being elected in 2010 as the federal member for Fraser, Andrew was a professor of economics at the Australian National University. Andrew has written extensively on a range of subjects, including...

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