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Antje Röder and Peter Mühlau, Institute for International Integration Studies, Trinity College Dublin


What determines the confidence of immigrants in public institutions? Using pooled data from the European Social Survey from 26 countries, the study examines whether processes of social exclusion and discrimination can account for migrants’ confidence in public institutions. Specifically, it examines the role of the quality of public institutions and of migrant integration policies of the host country and how they interact with migrant status and proxies for experienced or potential discrimination in shaping institutional trust. The empirical results show that first generation migrants exhibit more confidence in public institutions than natives and second generation migrants. In particular migrants from groups with a high discrimination and exclusion risk are more trusting of host country institutions. The quality of institutions does not matter less for the confidence of immigrants than that of natives, with the exception of those who see themselves as an ethnic minority or member of a group discriminated against, and for whom the quality of host country institutions is to a lesser degree reflected in their institutional trust. Controlling for the quality of host country institutions in general, migrant integration policies show a negative relation to migrants’ confidence in public institutions that does not differ from the relationship between integration policies and confidence in institutions for natives. The main conclusion is that countries with better institutions appear to be experienced as more inclusive by migrants.

Key words: Immigrants; Confidence in institutions; Discrimination

Last updated 28 August 2014 by IIIS (Email).