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Seminar "Strangers and Foreigners: Trust and Attitudes toward Citizenship"Event ended

IOS-IZA-HSE University International Labor Seminar was held on February 1, 2022.

Speaker: Graziella Bertocchi (University of Modena and Reggio Emilia and IZA)

Title: Strangers and Foreigners: Trust and Attitudes toward Citizenship

We analyze the relationship between natives' attitudes towards citizenship acquisition for foreigners and trust. Since we interpret the latter as a proximate determinant of such attitudes, we also aim at establishing their underlying fundamental determinants, with a focus on sub-Saharan Africa. Our hypothesis is that the slave trade represents the deep factor behind contemporary attitudes toward citizenship. The channel linking the slave trade to citizenship attitudes is the persistent influence of the slave trade on trust, with more intense exposure to historical slave exports for an individual's ethnic group being associated with contemporary distrust for strangers, and in turn opposition to citizenship laws that favor the inclusion of foreigners. Our results show that individuals who are more trusting do show more positive attitudes towards the acquisition of citizenship at birth for children of foreigners, that these attitudes are also negatively related to the intensity of the slave trade, and that the underlying link between trust and the slave trade is confirmed. We also explore alternative fundamental factors - conflict, kinship, and witchcraft beliefs - that, through trust, may affect attitudes toward citizenship, but none of them is able to generate the same distinctive pattern of linkages emerging from the slave trade.

 
Joint paper with Arcangelo Dimico (Queen's University Belfast) and Gian Luca Tedeschi (University of Padua and University of Nottingham).