Social capital in the urban context: Diversity and social contacts in Chilean cities

Matias Garreton, Vicente Espinoza, Roberto Cantillan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study examines the relationship between social capital and neighborhood diversity in Chilean cities. We propose that differences exist between hierarchical forms of diversity, which might erode social trust, and cultural differences that might foster new social links in heterogeneous communities. In Chile, strong material inequalities represent the main form of hierarchical differentiation, while south-to-south immigrants convey qualitative differences based on race, ethnic origin, or cultural practices. In contrast to most Western industrialized countries, where material and ethnic differences tend to converge, they appear to be uncoupled in Chile, explaining the presence of immigrants at different levels of the social hierarchy. We analyze original data from a Latin American country with high domestic inequality. Multilevel models nested at the city level reveal that social capital is negatively correlated with socioeconomic diversity, but positively correlated with immigrant diversity, suggesting that uncoupling these differences has a positive effect on social capital development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1644-1663
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Urban Affairs
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2023


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