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Social capital in transition: a first look at the evidence


Author Info

  • Martin Raiser

    (European Bank for Reconstruction and Development)

  • Christian Haerpfer

    (Institute of Higher Studies, University of Vienna)

  • Thomas Nowotny

    (University of Vienna and Austrian National Bank)

  • Claire Wallace

    (Institute of Higher Studies, University of Vienna)

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    This paper provides what we believe to be the first collection of data on social capital in the transition countries of central/eastern Europe and of the former Soviet Union. Using data from the World Values Survey 1990 and 1995 we document the degree of trust and of civic participation and find that these indicators of social capital are significantly lower than in OECD countries (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development). The paper also provides a preliminary investigation of the link between social capital and growth during transition. Unlike in market economies, in transition countries trust is not positively related to growth; while participation in civic organisations shows a positive correlation. We also construct indicators of trust in public institutions and find positive correlations with growth rates. The positive association of civic participation with growth is robust to the use of instrumental variable techniques to control for potential problems of endogeneity.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Office of the Chief Economist in its series Working Papers with number 61.

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    Length: 31 pages
    Date of creation: Feb 2001
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:ebd:wpaper:61

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    Related research

    Keywords: Social capital; civic participation; transition;

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    Blog mentions

    As found by, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Resultados sociales de la educación (II): Participación en actividades sociales (Education at a glance 2012)
      by Marta in Capital social (confianza, redes y normas), Felicidad y Emprendimiento on 2012-09-27 09:10:08
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    Cited by:
    1. Håkansson, Peter & Sjöholm, Fredrik, 2005. "Who Do You Trust? Ethnicity And Trust In Bosnia And Herzegovina," EIJS Working Paper Series 216, The European Institute of Japanese Studies.
    2. Prokic-Breuer, Tijana, 2011. "The relative importance of social and cultural capital for educational performance: Eastern versus Western Europe," Discussion Papers, Research Professorship Demographic Development, Social Change, and Social Capital SP I 2011-403, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
    3. Laar,Mindel,van de, 2004. "Financing Dutch direct investments to transition economics," Research Memorandum 030, Maastricht University, Maastricht Research School of Economics of Technology and Organization (METEOR).
    4. Hans-Jurgen Wagener, 2004. "Good Governance, Welfare, and Transformation," European Journal of Comparative Economics, Cattaneo University (LIUC), vol. 1(1), pages 127-143, June.
    5. d'Hombres, Beatrice & Rocco, Lorenzo & Suhrcke, Marc & McKee, Martin, 2006. "Does social capital determine health? Evidence from eight transition countries," MPRA Paper 1862, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Campos, Nauro F & Coricelli, Fabrizio, 2002. "Growth in Transition: What we Know, What we Don't and What we Should," CEPR Discussion Papers 3246, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    7. Foders, Federico & Piazolo, Daniel & Schweickert, Rainer, 2002. "Fit für die EU? Indikatoren zum Stand der Wirtschaftsreformen in den Kandidatenländern," Kiel Discussion Papers 389/390, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    8. Benno Torgler, 2003. "Tax Morale in Transition Countries," Working papers 2003/01, Faculty of Business and Economics - University of Basel.
    9. Fabio Sabatini, 2005. "Measuring Social Capital in Italy. An Exploratory Analysis," Development and Comp Systems 0504003, EconWPA.
    10. Helje Kaldaru & Eve Parts, 2005. "The Effect Of Macro-Level Social Capital On Sustainable Economic Development," University of Tartu - Faculty of Economics and Business Administration Working Paper Series 42, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, University of Tartu (Estonia).
    11. Wolz, Axel & Fritzsch, Jana & Reinsberg, Klaus, 2005. "The Impact of Social Capital on Farm and Household Income: Results of a Survey among Individual Farmers in Poland," 94th Seminar, April 9-10, 2005, Ashford, UK 24442, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
    12. Andrew Spicer & William Pyle, 2003. "Institutions And The Vicious Circle Of Distrust In The Russian Household Deposit Market, 1992-1999," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 2003-588, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
    13. Marco Ferroni & Mercedes Mateo Díaz & J. Mark Payne, 2007. "Development under Conditions of Inequality and Distrust: An Exploration of the Role of Social Capital and Social Cohesion in Latin America," IDB Publications 53818, Inter-American Development Bank.
    14. Ees, Hans van & Bachmann, Reinhard, 2003. "Transition economics and trust building : a network perspective on E.U. enlargement," Research Report 03G06, University of Groningen, Research Institute SOM (Systems, Organisations and Management).
    15. Dzialek, Jaroslaw, 2009. "Social capital and economic growth in Polish regions," MPRA Paper 18287, University Library of Munich, Germany.


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