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Economic Growth and Social Capital


  • Paul F. Whiteley


Recent interdisciplinary theoretical work has suggested that social capital, or the interpersonal trust of citizens, plays an important role in explaining both the efficiency of political institutions, and in the economic performance of contemporary societies. This paper examines the relationship between social capital and economic growth in a sample of thirty‐four countries over the period 1970 to 1992, within the framework of a modified neo‐classical model of economic growth. The findings suggest that social capital has an impact on growth which is at least as strong as that of human capital or education, which has been the focus of much of the recent work on endogenous growth theory. It appears to have about the same impact on growth as catch‐up or the ability of poorer nations to adopt technological innovations pioneered by their richer counterparts.

Suggested Citation

  • Paul F. Whiteley, 2000. "Economic Growth and Social Capital," Political Studies, Political Studies Association, vol. 48(3), pages 443-466, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:polstu:v:48:y:2000:i:3:p:443-466
    DOI: 10.1111/1467-9248.00269

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