Korteweg-de Vries Institute for Mathematics

dr. W. (Wahideh) Achbari

  • Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences
    Programme group: Challenges to Democratic Representation
  • Visiting address
    REC BC
    Nieuwe Achtergracht 166  
  • Postal address:
    Postbus  15578
    1001 NB  Amsterdam
  • w.achbari@uva.nl


  • PhD Politics & IR, University of Edinburgh
  • MSc by Research Politics, University of Edinburgh
  • BA and MSc Politics & IR, University of Amsterdam

Peer Reviewed Publications

Journal articles

  • Achbari, W., M. Gesthuizen and J. Holm (2018) ‘Ethnic diversity and generalized trust: testing the contact hypothesis in Dutch voluntary organizations’, Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterlyhttps://doi.org/10.1177/0899764018764328
  • Achbari, W. (2015) ‘Bridging and bonding ethnic ties in voluntary organizations: a multilevel “schools of democracy” model’, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 41(14): 2291-2313. https://doi.org/10.1080/1369183X.2015.1053851
  • Achbari, W. (2015) ‘Back to the future: Revisiting the contact hypothesis at Turkish and mixed non-profit organizations in Amsterdam’, Ethnic and Racial Studies, 38(1): 158-175.. https://doi.org/10.1080/01419870.2013.826811
  • Van den Bos, M. and W. Achbari (2007) ‘Cultural migration: Networks of Iranian organizations in the Netherlands’, Migration Letters, 4(2): 171-181.
  • Achbari, W. (2017) ‘Institutionalizing Islam in the Netherlands: A historical overview of the 1990s’, invited contribution at Groniek, 208/209.
  • Achbari, W. (2004) ‘Modern Iran: een [a] paradox?’ Boekbespreking van [Review of] Ansari, Ali M. Modern Iran Since 1921, The Pahlavis and After’, Sharqiyyāt, 16(2): 127-129.


  • Achbari, W. (2016) The paradox of diversity: Why does interethnic contact in voluntary organizations not lead to generalized trust?, International Migration Integration and Social Cohesion network, Dordrecht: Springer Science. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-44243-3


  • Achbari, W. and A.S. Leerkes (2017) Van perceptie naar feit: Asielzoekers en Buurtcriminaliteit [From perceptions to facts: Asylum seekers and neighbourhood crime], Den Haag: WODC, Ministerie van Justitie & Veiligheid

My research interests lie at the intersection of political psychology, political sociology and migration studies. My work seeks to understand the processes behind the creation of generalized trust, people’s intention to vote, and confidence in governments. I am particularly interested in the impact of ethnic diversity on these phenomena.

In my work I mainly use statistical techniques such as multilevel, structural equation modelling and panel analysis. I draw on survey questionnaires, register and experimental data.

In 2018 I started a Marie Curie Individual Fellowship. My project questions the widely held assumption that generalized trust (an often used indicator) is the same as lack of prejudice towards out-groups. I will investigate this overlooked relationship among high and low educated groups. Education can be understood as a primary cultural institution, but also a possible source of social desirability. Therefore, I will focus on the relationship between self-reported attitudes and implicit measures (Implicit Association Test), and between attitudes and behaviour in an experimental setting.

Previously I worked at the Research and Documentation Centre of the Dutch Ministry of Justice and Security. This project dealt with the question whether the arrival of asylum reception centres has increased neighbourhood crime and the propensity of victimization in Dutch neighbourhoods. In addition, I analysed data on crime suspects and compared the profiles of asylum migrants with the regular Dutch population. I employed register data from Statistics Netherlands, which comprised the entire Dutch population in 2005, and the period between 2010 and 2015.

I have also worked with Prof Benny Geys at the Free University Brussels on a project funded by the FWO (Flemish research council) to disentangle the causal mechanisms behind young people joining associations and evaluating strangers as trustworthy. In a series of experiments, we shed light on this sequence.


‘Paradoxes of Bridging and Bonding’: Explaining attitudes of generalized trust for participants of ethnically mixed and Turkish voluntary organizations in Amsterdam

Submitted January 2012

Examined by Prof Marc Hooghe (Political Science, KU Leuven) and Dr Michael Rosie (Sociology, Edinburgh), March 2012.

Supervisors: Prof Andrew Thompson (Politics & IR, Edinburgh) and Dr Pontus Odmalm (Politics & IR, Edinburgh)


My thesis assessed attitudes of generalized trust among participants of voluntary organizations in Amsterdam, some of which are ethnically diverse and some of which are exclusively Turkish. In doing so, I focused on the role of interethnic contact as a socialisation mechanism, while also examining alternative processes of self-selection and cognitive dissonance. The thesis addresses a persistent puzzle in social sciences, namely:

Why does ethnic diversity hamper generalized trust?

Findings suggest that despite much fear about ethnic concentration and parallel societies among academics, policy makers and the public, participants of Turkish associations are not negatively socialised into uncivic citizens. Participants of ethnically diverse organizations are rather self-selecting into high-trusting groups. What is more, individual-level processes such as avoiding cognitive dissonance are contributing towards the evaluation of unknown others. Since trusting unknown people is essentially a risky endeavour, this suggests that participants of both association types who report trusting strangers can afford to do so, because they are better educated, have a positive world-view, and have had fewer negative life experiences.


PhD: College of Humanities and Social Science Studentship; Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds; Fundatie Vrijvrouwe van Renswoude.

In Edinburgh, I convened and lectured on the following course:

Europe and International Migration (3rd year Bachelor).

While in Edinburgh, I also was a tutor (university teaching assistant) on the following courses:

Core Quantitative Data Analysis (Postgraduate); Democracy in Comparative Perspective (1st year Bachelor); and Social & Political Enquiry (2nd year Bachelor).

No known ancillary activities

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