The broad idea that economies and societies may work better if they can rely on an abun- dant ‘capital’ of trust, civic norms, associational networks and well functioning institu- tions has been inspiring for a great number of social scientists. The concept of ‘social capital’ has provided a useful lexicon for some of these ideas. Yet no consensus has been reached on the definition of this concept. While this has led some scholars to question social capital as an analytical tool, its popularity in social sciences has kept rising, both because it provides a bridge between different social sciences, and because different empirical measures of social capital have proved to be powerful explanatory factors for a wide array of relevant phenomena. I first discuss some of the most popular definitions of social capital, then turn to the empirics of its measures, effects and accumulation, with the aim to tackle some crucial issues, but without any ambition of exhaustiveness. A ‘civil capital’ perspective may be useful to connect social capital studies to the analysis of institutions, which appears a very promising research avenue.

Social and Civil Capital

VANIN, PAOLO
2013

Abstract

The broad idea that economies and societies may work better if they can rely on an abun- dant ‘capital’ of trust, civic norms, associational networks and well functioning institu- tions has been inspiring for a great number of social scientists. The concept of ‘social capital’ has provided a useful lexicon for some of these ideas. Yet no consensus has been reached on the definition of this concept. While this has led some scholars to question social capital as an analytical tool, its popularity in social sciences has kept rising, both because it provides a bridge between different social sciences, and because different empirical measures of social capital have proved to be powerful explanatory factors for a wide array of relevant phenomena. I first discuss some of the most popular definitions of social capital, then turn to the empirics of its measures, effects and accumulation, with the aim to tackle some crucial issues, but without any ambition of exhaustiveness. A ‘civil capital’ perspective may be useful to connect social capital studies to the analysis of institutions, which appears a very promising research avenue.
Handbook on the Economics of Reciprocity and Social Enterprise
306
317
P. Vanin
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11585/117294
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