Emigration and Trust

Dragos Radu (King’s College London)
Eka Skoglund (IOS Regensburg)

Abstract: Do large emigration flows have a detrimental effect on generalized trust “back home”? What are the main social mechanisms through which emigration impacts upon the level of trust among those who remain in sending areas? We address these questions using both aggregate level data and individual level data collected in an original survey on social exclusion in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Our panel models imply a negative relationship between emigration and trust which we confirm using large survey data. While most of our analysis is descriptive in nature the cross-country heterogenity of our sample helps to uncover possible transmission mechanisms from migration to trust. Our results imply that above a certain threshold, massive emigration flows are likely to contribute to social trap settings which particularly affect transition countries and hinder members of their their societies to cooperate to achieve joint benefits.