Religion and trust in strangers among China's rural-urban migrants

2019-05-21

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Authors

Geng Niu; Guochang Zhao


Abstract

During China's rapid urbanization, the social marginalization of its rural-urban migrants has attracted increasing scholarly and social attention. At the same time, China is experiencing a rising tide of religion, the impact of which on social integration remains unexplored. Based on a large-scale survey for rural-urban migrants, we find that being a religious believer is associated with a higher level of trust towards strangers. In addition, participating in religious-related activities has a positive impact on trust for both believers and non-believers. We test the robustness of our results using instrumental variable analysis. We conjecture that prosocial values in religious teaching and social interaction opportunities contribute to rural-urban migrants' generalized trust. Our results indicate that informal institution such as religion can be important in forming social capital for marginalized social groups.


Supported by the 111 Project B16040

URL:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chieco.2018.05.005