Beliefs about the Past and Trust: Evidence from Northern Iraq
This paper examines beliefs about the past across ethnic groups in conflict ridden Northern Iraq, and the extent to which such beliefs are associated with interethnic trust and political trust. Using individual-level survey data collected in 2010 and 2011 in the cities of Erbil and Kirkuk, we show that beliefs about the past are strongly structured by ethnicity, but that the ethnic composition of friendship networks is an important moderating factor. Our results also indicate that beliefs about the past play a significant role in interethnic trust as beliefs about the past connected to particular ethnic groups are often associated with trust in these groups. Beliefs about the past are also shown to be associated with trust in political institutions.