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Measuring Social Capital: Culture as an Explanation of Italy's Economic Dualism

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  • Galassi, F.L.
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    Abstract

    The paper presents a quantitative test of the oft-repeated view that Italy's backward and poor South suffered from low "social capital", a tendency to defect from co-operative engagements. The problem with such assertions is that they run the risk of taking as evidence in favour of the hypothesis the very observations that need to be explained. The analysis carried out in this work tries to break out of this impasse by analyzing the conditions under which it was ex ante welfare-improving for farmers in early 20th century Italy to join an unlimited liability rural co-operative bank which would give them access to cheaper credit but also exposed them to the risk of their neighbours' defection.

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    File URL: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/economics/research/workingpapers/2008/twerp553.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by University of Warwick, Department of Economics in its series The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) with number 553.

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    Length: 37 pages
    Date of creation: 2000
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:wrk:warwec:553

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    Keywords: POVERTY ; CULTURE ; SOCIAL CAPITAL;

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    References

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    1. Timothy Besley & Stephen Coate & Glenn Loury, 1992. "The Economics of Rotating Savings and Credit Associations," Boston University - Institute for Economic Development, Boston University, Institute for Economic Development 24, Boston University, Institute for Economic Development.
    2. Edward L. Glaeser & David Laibson & Jose A. Scheinkman & Christine L. Soutter, 1999. "What is Social Capital? The Determinants of Trust and Trustworthiness," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research 1875, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
    3. Basu, Kaushik, 1995. "Civil institutions and evolution: Concepts, critique and models," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 19-33, February.
    4. Guinnane, T. & Banerjee, A. & Besley, T., 1993. "Thy Neighbor's Keeper: the Design of a Credit Cooperative with Theory and a Test," Papers, Yale - Economic Growth Center 705, Yale - Economic Growth Center.
    5. Polsi, Alessandro, 1996. "Financial institutions in nineteenth-century Italy. The rise of a banking system," Financial History Review, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge University Press, vol. 3(02), pages 117-137, October.
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