Love Thy Neighbor? Trust in Foreigners and Support for Transnational Policies

Sergio C. Wals, Elizabeth Theiss-Morse, Frank J. Gonzalez, Tess Gosda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


This study assesses the extent to which individual levels of trust in foreigners relate to preferences about regional transnational policies. We use a nationally representative survey from Mexico (2003), an emerging democracy with relatively high levels of nationalism and several multinational trade agreements. We argue that clarifying the target of social trust is essential for understanding the attitudes of citizens of less powerful countries toward the international policy realm. Statistical analysis strongly suggests that in fact trust in foreigners, above generalized trust, is key to understanding such attitudes. Our results indicate that trust in foreigners among Mexican respondents is positively associated with support for open immigration policies, the North American Free Trade Agreement, and political union with the United States.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)537-551
Number of pages15
JournalPolitical Research Quarterly
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 13 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Mexico
  • immigration
  • international regional integration
  • public opinion
  • transnational policies
  • trust in foreigners

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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