Unity in Diversity? How Intergroup Contact Can Foster Nation Building

49 Pages Posted: 27 Mar 2019 Last revised: 6 Mar 2021

See all articles by Samuel Bazzi

Samuel Bazzi

Boston University - Department of Economics

Arya Gaduh

University of Arkansas

Alexander Rothenberg

Syracuse University

Maisy Wong

The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania

Date Written: March 2019

Abstract

We use a population resettlement program in Indonesia to identify long-run effects of intergroup contact on national integration. In the 1980s, the government relocated two million ethnically diverse migrants into hundreds of new communities. We find greater integration in fractionalized communities with many small groups, as measured by national language use at home, intermarriage, and children's name choices. However, in polarized communities with a few large groups, ethnic attachment increases and integration declines. Residential segregation dampens these effects. Social capital, public goods, and ethnic conflict follow similar patterns. Overall, our findings highlight the importance of localized contact in shaping identity.

Suggested Citation

Bazzi, Samuel and Gaduh, Arya and Rothenberg, Alexander and Wong, Maisy, Unity in Diversity? How Intergroup Contact Can Foster Nation Building (March 2019). NBER Working Paper No. w25683, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3360829

Samuel Bazzi (Contact Author)

Boston University - Department of Economics ( email )

270 Bay State Road
Boston, MA 02215
United States

Arya Gaduh

University of Arkansas ( email )

402 Business Building
Fayetteville, AR 72701
United States
1-479-575-8776 (Phone)

Alexander Rothenberg

Syracuse University ( email )

900 S. Crouse Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244-2130
United States

Maisy Wong

The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania ( email )

3641 Locust Walk
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6365
United States
215-746-3470 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://maisy.wharton.upenn.edu/

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