A neat little study just out from the National Burea of Economic Research shows the value of bowling alone and being suspicious of your neighbors just because they're different from you. The author of the working paper–whose conclusions I am about to casually distort for the sake of a punchline–examines Indonesian villagers' beliefs about corruption on a road-building project.
Of particular interest:
"Ethnically heterogeneous villages have higher perceived corruption levels but lower actual levels of missing expenditures." … "Villagers in more ethnically heterogeneous villages are less likely to report trusting their fellow villagers, and more likely to attend project monitoring meetings, than those in homogeneous village."
The study also points out that lots of social participation makes people less likely to believe there's corruption, but corruption is just as likely to be present among these goody-two-shoes joiners as among their less civic-minded brethren. Plus, being overly suspicious has benefits. Among the conclusions: "Biases in individual's views about corruption can lead to increased monitoring behavior, which in turn reduces corruption."
So go ahead, America. Keep our nation clean and wholesome by being your ethnically heterogeneous, socially-isolated, distrustful selves.