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

Geng Niu () and Guochang Zhao ()

China Economic Review, 2018, vol. 50, issue C, 265-272

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.

Keywords: Generalized trust; Religiosity; China; Rural-urban migrants; Social interaction; Informal institution (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Z12 Z13 O15 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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China Economic Review is currently edited by B.M. Fleisher, K. X. D. Huang, M.E. Lovely, Y. Wen, X. Zhang and X. Zhu

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