IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

Agents Cooperation and Network Sustainability: A Note on a Microeconomic Approach to Social Capital

Listed author(s):
  • Mancinelli Susanna
  • Mazzanti Massimiliano

This paper investigates (i) the extent to which the emerging notion of "social capital" is definable and treatable within a microeconomic approach, and (ii) what valuable research directions exist in this field at the moment. The contribution is aimed at framing a specific conceptual model in order to indicate a research direction, thus "looking for the fire behind the smoke" which has been generated around the concept. First, after a critical examination of the recent socio-economic literature on Social Capital, a microeconomic-grounded definition, revolving around the elements of reciprocal trust and voluntary co-operation, is provided. The definition is theoretically consistent with the recent and more relevant socio-economic literature, it is self-contained and thus it represents a feasible framework for further analysis. Secondly, the implications of the definition, regarding the role of social capital investments for the development of firm network and innovative capacity, are discussed. Finally, a set of possible extensions and main critical points are sketched. The main point we raise is that the analysis on social capital will fruit-fully develop only if several self-contained and theoretically sound definitions are drawn out at different levels, even with different research aims and from different methodological perspectives. A defined and robust conceptual framing of the social capital concept is in fact a necessary pre-condition for supporting consistent applied analyses. The work intends to constitute a point of reference for future research, generating some controversy and stimulating further contributions.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by Società editrice il Mulino in its journal Economia politica.

Volume (Year): (2004)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 299-322

in new window

Handle: RePEc:mul:jb33yl:doi:10.1428/14115:y:2004:i:2:p:299-322
Contact details of provider: Web page:

No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:mul:jb33yl:doi:10.1428/14115:y:2004:i:2:p:299-322. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.