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The co-evolution of social capital and financial development


  • Marc Sangnier

    () (Paris School of Economics)


This paper documents the co-evolution of social capital, measured as generalized trust, and financial development over the twentieth century. I use cross generations inherited trust of Americans with foreign ancestors to track trust in their home country in 1913 and 1990. The paper documents a positive cross-section relationship between trust and financial development in 1913. Then, I show that increasing trust is also associated with increasing financial development at the country level over the twentieth century. In other words, countries that experienced larger improvements in trust also experienced a stronger financial development. These results are robust to the introduction of real GDP per capita and trade openness as alternative determinants of financial development.

Suggested Citation

  • Marc Sangnier, 2011. "The co-evolution of social capital and financial development," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 31(2), pages 1063-1081.
  • Handle: RePEc:ebl:ecbull:eb-10-00325

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Zak, Paul J & Knack, Stephen, 2001. "Trust and Growth," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(470), pages 295-321, April.
    2. Stephen Knack & Philip Keefer, 1997. "Does Social Capital Have an Economic Payoff? A Cross-Country Investigation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1251-1288.
    3. La Porta, Rafael & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1997. " Legal Determinants of External Finance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 52(3), pages 1131-1150, July.
    4. Guido Tabellini, 2010. "Culture and Institutions: Economic Development in the Regions of Europe," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 8(4), pages 677-716, June.
    5. Oguzhan Dincer & Eric Uslaner, 2010. "Trust and growth," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 142(1), pages 59-67, January.
    6. Alessandra Fogli & Raquel Fernandez, 2009. "Culture: An Empirical Investigation of Beliefs, Work, and Fertility," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 146-177, January.
    7. Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1998. "Law and Finance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(6), pages 1113-1155, December.
    8. Luigi Guiso & Paola Sapienza & Luigi Zingales, 2004. "The Role of Social Capital in Financial Development," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(3), pages 526-556, June.
    9. Yann Algan & Pierre Cahuc, 2010. "Inherited Trust and Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(5), pages 2060-2092, December.
    10. Rajan, Raghuram G. & Zingales, Luigi, 2003. "The great reversals: the politics of financial development in the twentieth century," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(1), pages 5-50, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. Sangnier, Marc, 2013. "Does trust favor macroeconomic stability?," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(3), pages 653-668.

    More about this item


    Financial development; social capital; trust.;

    JEL classification:

    • N2 - Economic History - - Financial Markets and Institutions
    • Z1 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics


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