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The relationship between trust and networks. An exploratory empirical analysis

  • Fabio Sabatini


    (University of Siena, Department of Economics and Faculty of Political Science)

Which kind of network fosters the diffusion of development-oriented trust? This paper carries out an empirical investigation into the causal relationships connecting four types of social networks (i.e. bonding, bridging, linking, and corporate), and different forms of trust (knowledge-based trust, social trust, trust towards public services and political institutions), in a community of entrepreneurs located in the Italian industrial district of the Tuscia. Our results suggest that the main factors fostering the diffusion of social trust among entrepreneurs is the establishment of corporate ties through professional associations. Trust in people is positively and significantly correlated also to higher levels of satisfaction and confidence in public services. Participation in voluntary organizations does not appear to increase trust towards strangers. Rather, we find evidence of the other way round: interpersonal trust seems to encourage civic engagement.

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Article provided by AccessEcon in its journal Economics Bulletin.

Volume (Year): 29 (2009)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 661-672

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Handle: RePEc:ebl:ecbull:eb-09-00184
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  1. Sabatini Fabio, 2007. "The empirics of social capital and economic development: A critical perspective," wp.comunite 0031, Department of Communication, University of Teramo.
  2. Zak, Paul J & Knack, Stephen, 2001. "Trust and Growth," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(470), pages 295-321, April.
  3. La Porta, Rafael, et al, 1997. "Trust in Large Organizations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(2), pages 333-38, May.
  4. Beugelsdijk, Sjoerd & van Schaik, Ton, 2005. "Social capital and growth in European regions: an empirical test," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 301-324, June.
  5. Zellner, Arnold, 1970. "Estimation of Regression Relationships Containing Unobservable Independent Variables," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 11(3), pages 441-54, October.
  6. Fabio Sabatini, 2008. "Social Capital and the Quality of Economic Development," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(3), pages 466-499, 08.
  7. Fabio, Sabatini, 2005. "The empirics of social capital and economic development: a critical perspective," MPRA Paper 2366, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Mar 2007.
  8. Christian Bjørnskov, 2012. "How Does Social Trust Affect Economic Growth?," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 78(4), pages 1346-1368, April.
  9. Paul Streeten, 2002. "Reflections on Social and Antisocial Capital," Journal of Human Development and Capabilities, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 3(1), pages 7-22.
  10. Sabatini, Fabio, 2009. "Social capital as social networks: A new framework for measurement and an empirical analysis of its determinants and consequences," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 38(3), pages 429-442, June.
  11. Bjornskov, Christian, 2006. "The multiple facets of social capital," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 22-40, March.
  12. Aigner, Dennis J. & Hsiao, Cheng & Kapteyn, Arie & Wansbeek, Tom, 1984. "Latent variable models in econometrics," Handbook of Econometrics, in: Z. Griliches† & M. D. Intriligator (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 23, pages 1321-1393 Elsevier.
  13. Quibria, M.G., 2003. "The Puzzle of Social Capital: A Critical Review," MPRA Paper 2640, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 2003.
  14. 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.
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