Understanding Modern Societal Problems: the Effects of Diversity, Inequality, and Segregation on Social Cohesion

Principal Investigator: Ozan Aksoy

Summary

Understanding Modern Societal Problems: the Effects of Diversity, Inequality, and Segregation on Social Cohesion project is lead by Dr Ozan Aksoy and funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research.

(1) Does an increase in ethnic diversity decrease social cohesion---generalized cooperation and trust---in a society? Or as a few recent studies hint, (2) does diversity hamper cohesion only when it couples with resource inequality? It is difficult to answer these questions because another factor, segregation, interferes in. When a society is composed of heterogeneous (diverse and unequal) actors, these actors self-select into homogeneous subgroups. Due to segregation the society may be globally heterogeneous but locally homogeneous. Thus, (3) how segregation influences the heterogeneity-cohesion link becomes a further important question.
These three questions refer to pressing modern problems, but have not yet been fully answered. Available survey---observational---research has several shortcomings that the project identifies. These shortcomings can be addressed with innovative experiments. Available experiments, however, either omit segregation or do not couple inequality with diversity. This project investigates these three questions with a strong formal-theoretical approach and an innovative experimental strategy, aimed to address the shortcomings in the literature. The heterogeneity-segregation-cohesion link at the macro-level is studied via a simple but empirically fine-tuned game-theoretic micro-level model. Furthermore, the project proposes three experiments which distinguish clearly the relative effects of diversity, inequality, and segregation on cohesion.

Funding Provider

Understanding Modern Societal Problems: the Effects of Diversity, Inequality, and Segregation on Social Cohesion

Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research