Research interests

I am interested in a variety of topics related to language, ethnicity and social trust. I have a longstanding interest in ‘semi-communication’ – the partial communication possible between certain closely-related languages – and how this affects social and political outcomes. I am also interested in the determinants of generalised trust more broadly, and particularly how generalised trust is related to interethnic attitudes and ethnic diversity.

Publications and working papers

Kumove, Michael. “Does language foster reconciliation? Evidence from the former Yugoslavia”, Journal of Conflict Resolution 66, no. 4-5 (May 2022). [Download manuscript] [Journal link]

Kumove, Michael. “Diversity, semi-communication and cross-country trust: A quantitative analysis”, Social Science Research 86 (February 2020), 102392. [Download manuscript] [Journal link]

Kumove, Michael. “Who are ‘Most people?’ Outgroup and generalised trust in Croatia and the United States”, working paper.

Kumove, Michael. “A randomised experiment for the study of communication, contact and trust,” working paper.

Conference papers

“Imagining the ‘other’: Does cross-group trust affect generalised trust?” Australian Political Science Association Conference, Macquarie University, September 2021.

“Language, contact and cross-group trust in the former Yugoslavia”, Australian Political Science Association Conference, Adelaide, September 2019; Australian Society for Quantitative Political Science, Melbourne, December 2019.

PhD thesis

My PhD thesis examined the links between language, communication and social trust.  There is already a lot of research on the reasons why ethnic or linguistic groups might trust or distrust each other.  For instance, the well-known “contact hypothesis” suggests that social interaction improves cross-group attitudes.  But there has been surprisingly little research on how cross-group communication ability could improve trust.  Do groups which can communicate more easily also trust each other more, regardless of their cultural differences, linguistic identities or historical experiences?  If so, what are the reasons for that?  These are the central questions of my thesis.