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Do Borders Matter for Social Capital? Economic Growth and Civic Culture in U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

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  • John F. Helliwell

Abstract

The paper first assesses regional and ethnic group differences in social trust and memberships in both Canada and the United States. The ethnic categories people choose to describe themselves are as important as regional differences, but much less important than education, in explaining differences in trust. Respondents who qualify their nationality by any of seven adjectives, a feature more prevalent in the United States than in Canada, (black, white, Hispanic and Asian in the United States; French, English and Ethnic in Canada) have lower levels of trust than those who consider themselves Canadians or Americans either first or only. The dispersion of incomes across states or provinces has been dropping in both countries, but faster in Canada than in the United States. The 1980s increase in regional income disparity in the United States has no parallel in Canada. In neither country is there evidence that per capita economic growth is faster in regions marked by high levels of trust. However, U.S. migrants tend to move to states with higher perceived levels of trust, thus contributing to higher total growth in those states. The economic responsiveness of migration appears to be even stronger in Canada than in the United States, despite the much more extensive systems of fiscal equalization and social safety nets in Canada.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 5863.

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Date of creation: Dec 1996
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Publication status: published as John F. Helliwell, 1996. "Do National Borders Matter for Quebec's Trade?," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 29(3), pages 507-22, August.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5863

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References

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  1. Crihfield, John B. & Giertz, J. Fred & Mehta, Shekhar, 1995. "Economic growth in the American states: The end of convergence?," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 35(35), pages 551-577.
  2. John F. Helliwell, 1996. "Economic Growth and Social Capital in Asia," NBER Working Papers 5470, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. McCallum, John, 1995. "National Borders Matter: Canada-U.S. Regional Trade Patterns," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(3), pages 615-23, June.
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Cited by:
  1. 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.
  2. Azzoni, Carlos & Menezes-Filho, Naercio & Menezes, Tatiane & Silveira-Neto, Raul, 1999. "Geography and regional convergence of income in Brazilian states: 1981-1996," ERSA conference papers ersa99pa196, European Regional Science Association.
  3. Aleksynska, Mariya, 2007. "Civic Participation of Immigrants: Culture Transmission and Assimilation," MPRA Paper 4594, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Rafael Gomez & Eric Santor, 2001. "Membership has its privileges: the effect of social capital and neighbourhood characteristics on the earnings of microfinance borrowers," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 34(4), pages 943-966, November.
  5. Aron, Janine, 2000. "Growth and Institutions: A Review of the Evidence," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 15(1), pages 99-135, February.
  6. John F. Helliwell, 2001. "Canada: Life beyond the Looking Glass," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(1), pages 107-124, Winter.
  7. Johnson, Nancy L. & Suarez, Ruth & Lundy, Mark, 2003. "The Importance Of Social Capital In Colombian Rural Agro-Enterprises," 2003 Annual Meeting, August 16-22, 2003, Durban, South Africa 25917, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
  8. Alesina, Alberto F & La Ferrara, Eliana, 2000. "Who Trusts Others?," CEPR Discussion Papers 2646, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Helliwell, John F., 2003. "How's life? Combining individual and national variables to explain subjective well-being," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 331-360, March.
  10. Carlos A. Azzoni & Naercio Menezes-Filho & Tatiana de Menezes & Raúl Silveira-Neto, 2000. "Geography and Income Convergence among Brazilian States," Research Department Publications 3096, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  11. Johnson, Nancy & Suarez , Ruth & Lundy, Mark, 2002. "The importance of social capital in Colombian rural agro-enterprises:," CAPRi working papers 26, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  12. 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.
  13. Polimeni, John M. & Iorgulescu Polimeni, Raluca & Trees, W. Scott, 2007. "Extending The Augmented Solow Growth Model To Explain Transitional Economies," Journal for Economic Forecasting, Institute for Economic Forecasting, vol. 4(1), pages 65-76, March.
  14. Asimina Christoforou, 2005. "On the Determinants of Social Capital in Greece Compared to Countries of the European Union," Working Papers 2005.68, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.

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