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2008-06-09 | Peer Reviewed

Does Ethnicity matter for Trust? Evidence from Africa

Zikhali, Precious, Daniel Zerfu and Innocent Kabenga. 2008. “Does Ethnicity matter for Trust? Evidence from Africa.” Journal of African Economies 18:1: 153-175.
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This paper proposes that ethnicity coupled with ethnic nepotism may reduce interpersonal generalised trust.

We use the 2001 wave of the World Values Survey data for eight African countries to test this claim, and show that while ethnicity and ethnic nepotism are each important in affecting generalised trust levels, their interaction has a self-reinforcing and negative effect on trust levels. The results underscore the importance of institutions in controlling ethnic nepotism and thus partly in mitigating the adverse effects of ethnicity on trust.


  • Other authors:
    Zikhali, Precious
    Zerfu, Daniel
    Kabenga, Innocent