This study examines levels and origins of trust among recent immigrants in Canada. Three questions are asked: 1) How much trust do recent immigrants exhibit in comparison to other Canadians? 2) To what extent are immigrants’ levels of trust structured by pre-migration experiences? 3) To what extent are immigrants’ levels of trust structured by their post-migration experiences in Canada? The study investigates both the standard measure of generalized trust and trust in Canadians.
Generalized trust can be thought of as a smoothing mechanism to social interactions between members of a given society. It allows people to engage with other people with the belief that they will be treated with respect and with honesty (Putnam, 1993). Greater trust is also associated with a greater satisfaction with democracy, with a greater compliance in paying due taxes (Scholz and Lubell, 1998; Zmerli and Newton, 2008), and with greater economic growth (Knack and Keefer, 1997).