Political Behavior

, Volume 26, Issue 2, pp 125–153 | Cite as

Race and the City: Neighborhood Context and the Development of Generalized Trust

  • Melissa J. Marschall
  • Dietlind Stolle


Previous research has indicated that socio-economic and racial characteristics of an individual's environment influence not only group consciousness and solidarity, but also affect his or her views toward minority or majority groups. Missing from this research is a consideration of how context, social interaction, and interracial experiences combine to shape more general psychological orientations such as generalized trust. In this study we address this gap in the literature by conducting a neighborhood-level analysis that examines how race, racial attitudes, social interactions, and residential patterns affect generalized trust. Our findings suggest not only that the neighborhood context plays an important role in shaping civic orientations, but that the diversity of interaction settings is a key condition for the development of generalized trust.

civic attitudes racial attitudes context social capital 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Alesina, Alberto and Eliana La Ferrara (2000). The determinants of trust, NBER working paper series. Nr. 7621.Google Scholar
  2. Anton, Thomas, Bruce Bowen and Elwood Beck (1982). Detroit Area Study, 1975: A Study of Community Life and Politics [Computer File]. ICPSR Version. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research.Google Scholar
  3. Bledsoe, Timothy, Susan Welch, Lee Sigelman and Michael Combs. (1995). Residential context and racial solidarity among African Americans. American Journal of Political Science 39(2): 434–458.Google Scholar
  4. Bobo, Lawrence (1988). Group conflict, prejudice, and the paradox of contemporary racial attitudes. In Phyllis A. Katz and Dalmas A. Taylor (eds.), Eliminating Racism: Profiles in Controversy, pp. 85–114. NY: Plenum Press Books.Google Scholar
  5. Brehm, John and Rahn, Wendy (1997). Individual level evidence for the causes and consequences of social capital. American Journal of Political Science 41(July): 999–1023.Google Scholar
  6. Brewer, Marilynn (1981). Ethnocentrism and its role in interpersonal trust. In M. B. Brewer and B. E. Collins (eds.), Scientific Inquiry and the Social Sciences. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.Google Scholar
  7. Costa, Dora L., and Matthew E. Kahn (2003). Civic engagement and community heterogeneity: An economist's perspective. Perspectives in Politics 1(1): 103–111.Google Scholar
  8. Dasgupta Partha (1988). Trust as a Commodity In Gambetta, D. (ed.), Trust: Making and Breaking Cooperative Relations, pp. 49–72. NY: Basil Blackwell.Google Scholar
  9. Dovidio, John and Samuel Gaertner (1999). Reducing prejudice: Combating intergroup bias. In American Psychological Association, Current Directions in Psychological Science, pp. 101–105.Google Scholar
  10. Ellison, Christopher G., and Daniel A. Powers (1994). The contact hypothesis and racial attitudes among black Americans. Social Science Quarterly 75(2): 385–399.Google Scholar
  11. Farely, Reynolds and Howard Schuman (1997). Detroit Area Study, 1976: A Study of Metropolitan and Neighborhood Problems [Computer File]. ICPSR Version. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research.Google Scholar
  12. Farely, Reynolds, Sheldon Danziger, and Harry J. Holzer (2000). Detroit Divided. NY: Russell Sage.Google Scholar
  13. Fosset, Mark and Jill Kiecolt K. (1989). The relative size of minority populations and white racial attitudes. Social Science Quarterly 70(December): 820–835.Google Scholar
  14. Gaertner, Samuel, Mary Rust, John Dovidio, Betty Bachman, and Phyllis Anastasio (1996). The contact hypothesis: the role of common ingroup identity on reducing intergroup bias among majority and minority members. In J. L. Nye and A. M. Brower (eds.), What's Social About Social Cognition?, pp. 230–260. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  15. Giles, Michael and Hertz K. (1994). Racial threat and partisan identification. American Political Science Review 88(June): 317–326.Google Scholar
  16. Giles, Michael W. (1977). Recent black and racial hostility: an old assumption revisited. Social Science Quarterly 58: 412–417.Google Scholar
  17. Glaser J. (1994). Back to the black belt: Racial environment and white racial attitudes in the South. Journal of Politics 56(1): 21–41.Google Scholar
  18. Hardin R. (1993). The street-level epistemology of trust. Politics and Society 21(4): 505–529.Google Scholar
  19. Harrison, Roderick J., and Claudette E. Bennett (1995). Racial and ethnic diversity. In Reynolds Farley (ed.), State of the Union: America in the 1990s, volume 2. NY: Russell Sage.Google Scholar
  20. Hooghe, Marc and Stolle, Dietlind (2003). Generating Social Capital: Civil Society and Institutions in Comparative Perspective. New York: Palgrave/ St. Marin Press.Google Scholar
  21. Huckfeldt, Robert (1986). Politics in Context: Assimilation and Conflict in Urban Neighborhoods. NY: Agathon Press.Google Scholar
  22. Jackman, Mary R., and Marie Crane (1986). Some of my best friends are black...': Interracial friendship and whites' racial attitudes. Public Opinion Quarterly 50(4): 459–486.Google Scholar
  23. Kasarda, John (1993). Inner-city concentrated poverty and neighborhood distress: 1970-1990. Housing Policy Debate 4(3): 253–302.Google Scholar
  24. Kawachi, Ichiro, Bruce P. Kennedy, Kimberly Lochner and Deborah Prothrow-Stith (1997). Social capital, income inequality, and mortality. American Journal of Public Health 87(9): 1491–1498.Google Scholar
  25. Kelley, Harold H., and Anthony J. Stahelski (1970). Social interaction basis of cooperators' and competitors' beliefs about others. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 16(1): 66–91.Google Scholar
  26. Key V. O. (1949). Southern Politics in State and Nation. Knoxville, TN: University of Tennessee Press.Google Scholar
  27. King, Gary, Robert O. Keohane, and Sidney Verba (1994). Designing Social Inquiry. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  28. Knack, Stephen and Philip Keefer (1997). Does social capital have an economic payoff? A cross-country investigation. Quarterly Journal of Economics 112(4): 1251–1288.Google Scholar
  29. Lee, Eun, Sul, Ronald N. Forthofer, and Ronald J. Lorimor (1989). Analyzing Complex Survey Data. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  30. Lin, Nan (2001). Social Capital: A Theory of Social Structure and Action. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  31. Lowndes, Vivian (2000). Women and social capital. British Journal of Political Science 30(3): 533–537.Google Scholar
  32. Massey, Douglas S. (1996). The age of extremes: Concentrated affluence and poverty in the twenty-first century. Demography 33(November): 395–412.Google Scholar
  33. Massey, Douglas S., and Nancy A. Denton (1993). American apartheid: Segregation and the making of the underclass.Google Scholar
  34. Mayer, Nonna (2003). Democracies in France-Do associations matter? In Marc Hooghe and Dietlind Stolle (eds.), Generating Social Capital. Civil Society and Institutions in Comparative Perspective, pp. 43–66. New York: Palgrave.Google Scholar
  35. Mutz, Diana (2002). Cross-cutting social networks: Testing democratic theory in practice. American Political Science Review 96(March): 111–126.Google Scholar
  36. Newton K. (1999). Social and political trust in established democracies. In P. Norris (ed.), Critical Citizens. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  37. Oliver, Eric J., and Tali Mendelberg (2000). Reconsidering the environmental determinants of racial attitudes. American Journal of Political Science 44(July): 574–589.Google Scholar
  38. Oliver, Eric J. (2000). City size and civic involvement in metropolitan America. American Political Science Review 94, 2(June): 361–374.Google Scholar
  39. Oliver, Eric J. (1999). The effects of economic segregation on local civic participation. American Journal of Political Science 43(January): 186–212.Google Scholar
  40. Olsen, Marvin E. (1972). Social participation and voting turnout: A multivariate analysis. American Sociological Review 37(June): 317–333.Google Scholar
  41. Patterson O. (1999). Liberty against the democratic state; on the historical and contemporary sources of American distrust. In M. Warren (ed.), Democracy and Trust, pp. 151–207. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  42. Pettigrew, Thomas F. (1959). Regional variations in anti-Negro prejudice. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology 59: 28–36.Google Scholar
  43. Popielarz, Pamela (1999). (In)voluntary association: A multilevel analysis of gender segregation in voluntary associations. Gender and Society 13(2): 234–250.Google Scholar
  44. Putnam, Robert D., ed. (2002). Democracies in Flux. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  45. Putnam, Robert D., ed. (2000). Bowling Alone. NY: Simon and Schuster.Google Scholar
  46. Putnam, Robert D., ed. (1995). Bowling alone: Democracy in America at the end of the twentieth century. Nobel Symposium. Uppsala, Sweden.Google Scholar
  47. Putnam, Robert D., ed. (1993) Making Democracy Work. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  48. Putnam R., Susan Pharr, and Russell Dalton (2000). Introduction: What is troubling the trilateral democracies? In S. Pharr and Putnam R. (eds.), Disaffected Democracies, pp. 3–30. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  49. Ross, Catherine E., John Mirowsky, and Shana Pribesh (2001). Powerlessness and the amplification of threat: Neighborhood disadvantage, disorder, and mistrust. American Sociological Review 66(August): 568–591.Google Scholar
  50. Rotter, Julian B. (1980). Interpersonal trust, trustworthiness and gullibility. American Psychologist 35(1): 1–7.Google Scholar
  51. Shingles, Richard D. (1981). Black consciousness and political participation: The missing link. American Political Science Review 75(March): 76–90.Google Scholar
  52. Sigelman, Lee and Susan Welch (1993). The contact hypothesis revisited: Black-white interaction and positive racial attitudes. Social Forces 71(3): 781–795.Google Scholar
  53. StataCorp. (1999). Stata Statistical Software: Release 6.0. College Station, TX: Stat Corporation.Google Scholar
  54. Steenbergen, Marco R. and Bradford S. Jones. (2002). Modeling multilevel data structures. American Journal of Political Science 46(1): 218–237.Google Scholar
  55. Stein, Robert, Stephanie Post, and Allison L. Rinden. (2000). Reconciling context and contact effects on racial attitudes. Political Research Quarterly 53(June): 285–303.Google Scholar
  56. Stolle, Dietlind (2001). Clubs and congregations: the benefits of joining an association. In K. Cook (ed.), Trust in Society, pp. 202–244. NY: Russell Sage Foundation.Google Scholar
  57. _____ (1998). Bowling together, bowling alone: The development of generalized trust in voluntary associations. Political Psychology, 19(3): 497–525.Google Scholar
  58. Tajfel, Henri and John Turner (1979). An integrative theory of intergroup conflict. In William Austin and Stephen Worchel (eds.), The Social Psychology of Intergroup Relations. Monterey, CA: Brooks/Cole Publishing.Google Scholar
  59. Taylor, Marylee C. (1998). How white attitudes vary with the racial composition of local populations: Numbers count. American Sociological Review 63(4): 512–535.Google Scholar
  60. Tienda, Marta (1991). Poor people and poor places: Deciphering neighborhood effects on poverty Outcomes. In J. Huber, (ed.), Macro-Micro Linkages in Sociology, pp. 244–262. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  61. Uslaner, Ric (2002). The Moral Foundations of Trust, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  62. Van der Meer, Job (2003). Rain or fog-An empirical examination of social capital's rainmaker effects. In Marc Hooghe and Dietlind Stolle (eds.), Generating Social Capital. Civil Society and Institutions in Comparative Perspective, pp. 133–152. New York: Palgrave.Google Scholar
  63. Wollebæk D., and Selle P. (2003). The importance of passive membership. In Marc Hooghe and Dietlind Stolle (eds.), Generating Social Capital. Civil Society and Institutions in Comparative Perspective, pp. 67–88. New York: Palgrave.Google Scholar
  64. Wright, Gerald C. (1977). Contextual models of electoral behavior: The southern Wallace vote. American Political Science Review 71(June): 497–508.Google Scholar
  65. Yamagishi, Toshio and Yamagishi, Midori. (1994). Trust and commitment in the United States and Japan. Motivation and Emotion. 18(2): 129–166.Google Scholar
  66. Yamagishi, Toshio (2001). Trust as a form of social intelligence. In Karen Cook (ed.), Trust in Society, pp. 121–147. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.Google Scholar
  67. Zorn, Christopher J. W. (2001). Generalized equation models for correlated data: a review with applications. American Journal of Political Science 45: 470–490.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Melissa J. Marschall
    • 1
  • Dietlind Stolle
    • 2
  1. 1.Dept of Political Science-MS 24Rice UniversityHouston
  2. 2.Dept of Political ScienceMcGill UniversityMontrealQuebec

Personalised recommendations