A new meta-analysis confirms Robert D. Putnam’s notorious finding, which I discussed in my 2008 article “Fragmented Future,” that diversity isn’t always our strength:
Ethnic Diversity and Social Trust: A Narrative and Meta-Analytical Review
Preprint (PDF Available) · September 2019 with 195 Reads
Peter Thisted Dinesen, University of Copenhagen
Merlin Schaeffer, University of Copenhagen
Kim Mannemar Sønderskov, Aarhus University
Does ethnic diversity erode social trust? Continued immigration and corresponding growing ethnic diversity have prompted this essential question for modern societies, but few clear answers have been reached in the sprawling literature. Taking this as point of departure, this article reviews the existing literature on the relationship between ethnic diversity and social trust through a narrative review and a meta-analysis of 1,001 estimates from 87 studies. The review clarifies the core concepts, highlights pertinent debates, and tests core claims from the literature on the relationship between ethnic diversity and social trust. Several results stand out from the meta-analysis. We find a statistically significant negative relationship between ethnic diversity and social trust across all studies. The relationship is stronger for trust in neighbors, and when studied in more local contexts. Covariate conditioning generally changes the relationship only slightly. The review concludes by discussing avenues for future research.
But America’s judges know that diversity can’t possibly have any downsides. As Judge Allison D. Burroughs wrote in her opinion upholding Harvard’s right, no, Harvard’s responsibility to discriminate against Asians in favor of blacks in the “Findings of Fact” section:
It is somewhat axiomatic at this point that diversity of all sorts, including racial diversity, is an important aspect of education.
I love how this sentence echoes the famous opening sentence of Euclid’s Elements:
It is somewhat axiomatic at this point that triangles of all sorts, including equilateral triangles, have three sides.
Bravo, Judge Burroughs.