When can Contact Increase Trust? Experimental Evidence from Senegal
PhD candidate in the Center for Research in Economics and Statistics (CREST)
The Contact Hypothesis states that inter-group contact can, under some conditions, be effective at reducing prejudice (Allport, 1954). Contacts can take many forms, like meetings or playing football. Up to now, experimental evidence in economics has generated contacts using long and intense interventions. In contrast, we here test the effect of very short-term inter-group contact, based on a protocol aiming at increasing closeness. We apply the methodology to two different contexts in Senegal, with different prior interactions with out-group members. Our results suggest that in the context with limited interactions with members of the out-group, a short-term contact can be effective at increasing trust. We find no effect in the context with high out-group exposure. Taken together, these results point to a potential notion of contact capital and speak to the potential need to target the type of contact intervention used when aiming at reducing prejudice.
Co-Authors : Guillaume Hollard and Omar Sene).
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