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On the Determinants of Social Capital in Greece Compared to Countries of the European Union

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  • Asimina Christoforou

    (Athens University of Economics and Business)

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    Abstract

    Social capital refers to the stock of social relations, based on norms and networks of cooperation and trust that spill over to the market and state to enhance collective action between actors and achieve improved social efficiency and economic growth. The aim of the present paper is to discuss the implications of contemporary literature and empirical findings on social capital for the growth prospects of Greece, compared to the member-states of the European Union. In order to examine the potential of social capital to enhance growth, we must look into the factors that determine the nature and context of trust, norms and networks that have emerged in our multinational, multiethnic and multicultural Europe.The contribution of this paper is to offer insight on the determinants of social capital in Greece, compared to the European Union (EU - former 15 member-states). For this purpose, we regress an index of individual group membership, derived from the European Community Household Panel (ECHP), on a set of individual as well as aggregate factors of social capital. Regression results provide evidence of the impact of both individual and institutional characteristics on group membership. Differences on the extent of group membership between countries might be indicative of the historical and cultural differences that have affected the evolution of social capital across Europe. Particularly in Greece, the relatively low level of group membership compared to the other EU countries might provide further evidence of its low levels of civicness. Historically, its weak civil society has been a result of a prior civic tradition of clientelism under arbitrary rule, the interference of special-interest groups and the lack of credibility and impartiality from the part of the state. And these factors might be responsible for the slow pace in reform and growth observed compared to the rest of the EU. Nevertheless, the findings on the determinants of social capital may direct us to possible means of rebuilding patterns of participatory and cooperative behavior, especially in countries with low levels of trust and civicness, such as Greece.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei in its series Working Papers with number 2005.68.

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    Date of creation: May 2005
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    Handle: RePEc:fem:femwpa:2005.68

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    Keywords: Determinants; Social capital in Greece; European union; Diversity;

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    References

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    1. Dora L. Costa & Matthew E. Kahn, 2001. "Understanding the Decline in Social Capital, 1952-1998," NBER Working Papers 8295, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. John F. Helliwell, 1996. "Do Borders Matter for Social Capital? Economic Growth and Civic Culture in U.S. States and Canadian Provinces," NBER Working Papers 5863, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Anderson, Elizabeth, 2001. "Symposium on Amartya Sen's philosophy: 2 Unstrapping the straitjacket of : a comment on Amartya Sen's contributions to philosophy and economics," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 17(01), pages 21-38, April.
    4. Edward L. Glaeser & David Laibson & Bruce Sacerdote, 2000. "The Economic Approach to Social Capital," NBER Working Papers 7728, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Fox, Jonathan, 1996. "How does civil society thicken? the political construction of social capital in rural Mexico," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 24(6), pages 1089-1103, June.
    6. Richard B. Freeman, 1996. "Working for Nothing: The Supply of Volunteer Labor," NBER Working Papers 5435, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Brown, L. David & Ashman, Darcy, 1996. "Participation, social capital, and intersectoral problem solving: African and Asian cases," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 24(9), pages 1467-1479, September.
    8. Petro, Nicolai N., 2001. "Creating Social Capital in Russia: The Novgorod Model," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 229-244, February.
    9. Knack, Stephen & Keefer, Philip, 1997. "Does Social Capital Have an Economic Payoff? A Cross-Country Investigation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1251-88, November.
    10. Juster, F Thomas & Stafford, Frank P, 1991. "The Allocation of Time: Empirical Findings, Behavioral Models, and Problems of Measurement," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 29(2), pages 471-522, June.
    11. Heller, Patrick, 1996. "Social capital as a product of class mobilization and state intervention: Industrial workers in Kerala, India," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 24(6), pages 1055-1071, June.
    12. Burchell, Brendan & Wilkinson, Frank, 1997. "Trust, Business Relationships and the Contractual Environment," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 21(2), pages 217-37, March.
    13. Tsakalotos, Euclid, 1998. "The Political Economy of Social Democratic Economic Policies: The Pasok Experiment in Greece," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 14(1), pages 114-38, Spring.
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    Cited by:
    1. Isabel Neira Gómez & Marta Portela, 2011. "Determinantes del capital social," Investigaciones de Economía de la Educación volume 6, in: Antonio Caparrós Ruiz (ed.), Investigaciones de Economía de la Educación 6, edition 1, volume 6, chapter 60, pages 986-1001 Asociación de Economía de la Educación.
    2. Anneli Kaasa & Eve Parts, 2007. "Individual-Level Determinants Of Social Capital In Europe: Differences Between Country Groups," University of Tartu - Faculty of Economics and Business Administration Working Paper Series 56, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, University of Tartu (Estonia).
    3. Thierry Debrand & Nicolas Sirven, 2008. "Promoting Social Participation for Healthy Ageing - A Counterfactual Analysis from the Survey of Health, Ageing, and Retirement in Europe (SHARE)," Working Papers DT7, IRDES institut for research and information in health economics, revised Jan 2008.

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