A substantial literature has emerged examining the relationship between ethnic diversity due to immigration and social cohesion in the host country. Empirical evidence concerning this relationship, however, remains inconsistent, if not contradictory. Aside from rare exceptions, the bulk of evidence is also based on North American and European countries. The present study focuses on a novel empirical context: Georgia, a country located in the South Caucasus. Based on multilevel modeling of population-based data, it examines the associations between outgroup contact and attitude toward immigrants and two measures of social cohesion: generalized trust and civic engagement. Results show that net of controls at individual and regional levels, a negative orientation toward foreigners significantly predicts lower trust in generalized others. Frequency of outgroup contact, on the other hand, is positively related to civic participation. This linkage is also weaker in geographic areas with higher levels of anti-immigrant attitude. A major policy implication from this study is to encourage more intergroup contact through effective residential integration, amongst other measures.
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