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Measuring Social Capital in Italy: An Exploratory Analysis

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  • Sabatini, Fabio

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    (Associazione Italiana per la Cultura della Cooperazione e del Non Profit)

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    Abstract

    The aim of this paper is to trace a map of Italian local social capital endowments. It focuses on the structuraldimension of the concept, as identified with social networks. The analysis is based on a dataset collected by the author including about two hundred indicators of five main social capital dimensions: strong family ties, weak informal ties, voluntary organizations, civic awareness, and political participation. 51 key variables are selected for performing principal component analyses both on each of the five groups and on the entire dataset, in order to build latent indicators for every single social capitals dimension and for the concept as a whole. Finally, a multiple factor analysis is run on the entire dataset, in search of a single synthetic measure of social capital. A clear distinction emerges between bonding social capital, shaped by strong family ties, and bridging and linking social capital, shaped by weak ties among friends, neighboors and members in voluntary organizations. Areas characterized by high levels of bonding social capital can suffer from a lack of bridging and linking ties. The study provides a valuable synthetic indicator capturing the particular configuration of social capital which the literature generally associates with positive economic outcomes.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Associazione Italiana per la Cultura della Cooperazione e del Non Profit in its series AICCON Working Papers with number 12-2005.

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    Length: 45 pages
    Date of creation: 22 Apr 2005
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:ris:aiccon:2005_012

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    Related research

    Keywords: Social capital; Social networks; Economic development; Principal component analysis; Multiple factor analysis;

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    References

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    1. Luigi Guiso & Paola Sapienza & Luigi Zingales, 2000. "The Role of Social Capital in Financial Development," CRSP working papers 511, Center for Research in Security Prices, Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago.
    2. James L. Heckman, 1999. "Causal Parameters and Policy Analysis in Economcs: A Twentieth Century Retrospective," NBER Working Papers 7333, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Routledge, Bryan R. & von Amsberg, Joachim, 2003. "Social capital and growth," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 167-193, January.
    4. Becker, Gary S, 1974. "A Theory of Social Interactions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(6), pages 1063-93, Nov.-Dec..
    5. Jonathan Temple & Paul A. Johnson, 1998. "Social Capability And Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 113(3), pages 965-990, August.
    6. Fabio Sabatini, 2005. "Resources for the Study of Social Capital," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(2), pages 198-198, April.
    7. Samuel Bowles & Herbert Gintis, 2001. "Social Capital and Community Governance," Working Papers 01-01-003, Santa Fe Institute.
    8. John F. Helliwell & Robert D. Putnam, 1995. "Economic Growth and Social Capital in Italy," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 21(3), pages 295-307, Summer.
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    Cited by:
    1. Fabio Sabatini, 2005. "Social Capital, Public Spending and the Quality of Economic Development," Others 0506014, EconWPA.
    2. Emanuele Felice, 2011. "The determinants of Italy’s regional imbalances over the long run: exploring the contributions of human and social capital," Oxford University Economic and Social History Series _088, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.

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