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The role of social capital in enhancing factor productivity: Does its erosion depress per capita GDP?

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  • Bartolini, Stefano
  • Bonatti, Luigi
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    Abstract

    We aim at reconciling Putnam's claim that social capital has declined in the U.S. in the last decades with the satisfactory growth performance of the U.S. economy over the same period. This puzzle originates from the fact that - according to most literature - social capital enhances factor productivity (mainly by reducing defiant and opportunistic behavior). We model the hypotheses that the expansion of market activities weakens social capital formation, and that society reacts to the decline in social capital by spending more to protect property and enforce contracts. We show that this process may lead to a higher GDP level.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics).

    Volume (Year): 37 (2008)
    Issue (Month): 4 (August)
    Pages: 1539-1553

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:soceco:v:37:y:2008:i:4:p:1539-1553

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/620175

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    References

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    1. Jane Kolodinsky & Garret Kimberly & Jonathan Isham, 2003. "The Effects of Volunteering for Non-profit Organizations on Social Capital Formation: Evidence from a Statewide Survey," Middlebury College Working Paper Series 0305, Middlebury College, Department of Economics.
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    5. Steven Durlauf & Marcel Fafchamps, 2004. "Social Capital," Development and Comp Systems 0409060, EconWPA.
      • Durlauf, Steven N. & Fafchamps, Marcel, 2005. "Social Capital," Handbook of Economic Growth, in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 26, pages 1639-1699 Elsevier.
    6. Durlauf,S.N., 2001. "On the empirics of social capital," Working papers 3, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
    7. Zak, Paul J & Knack, Stephen, 2001. "Trust and Growth," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(470), pages 295-321, April.
    8. Marcel Fafchamps, 2004. "Social Capital and Development," Economics Series Working Papers 214, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    9. Knack, Stephen, 2003. " Groups, Growth and Trust: Cross-Country Evidence on the Olson and Putnam Hypotheses," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 117(3-4), pages 341-55, December.
    10. Anil Rupasingha & Stephan J. Goetz & David Freshwater, 2002. "Social and institutional factors as determinants of economic growth: Evidence from the United States counties," Papers in Regional Science, Springer, vol. 81(2), pages 139-155.
    11. Durlauf,S.N., 2000. "Bowling alone : a review essay," Working papers 29, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
    12. Jayadev, Arjun & Bowles, Samuel, 2006. "Guard labor," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(2), pages 328-348, April.
    13. Dora L. Costa & Matthew E. Kahn, 2003. "Understanding the American Decline in Social Capital, 1952--1998," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 56(1), pages 17-46, February.
    14. Annen, Kurt, 2003. "Social capital, inclusive networks, and economic performance," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 50(4), pages 449-463, April.
    15. Beugelsdijk, Sjoerd & van Schaik, Ton, 2005. "Social capital and growth in European regions: an empirical test," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 301-324, June.
    16. Hirschman, Albert O, 1982. "Rival Interpretations of Market Society: Civilizing, Destructive, or Feeble?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 20(4), pages 1463-84, December.
    17. Sjoerd Beugelsdijk & Henri L.F. de Groot & Anton B.T.M. van Schaik, 2004. "Trust and economic growth: a robustness analysis," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 56(1), pages 118-134, January.
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    Cited by:
    1. Stefan D. Josten, 2013. "Middle-Class Consensus, Social Capital And The Fundamental Causes Of Economic Growth And Development," Journal of Economic Development, Chung-Ang Unviersity, Department of Economics, vol. 38(1), pages 1-26, March.
    2. Sabatini, Fabio, 2009. "Social capital as social networks: A new framework for measurement and an empirical analysis of its determinants and consequences," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 38(3), pages 429-442, June.

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