Regional Development in Italy: Social Capital and the Mezzogiorno
The article looks at the role of social norms as elements in the facilitation of regional economic development in underdeveloped areas. Drawing upon the findings of "Making Democracy Work: Civic traditions in Modern Italy, " the argument is made that social norms play a vital role in determining a region's potential for economic growth. In the case of the Italian South, social norms emphasizing collective action (i.e. social capital) as a viable means of achieving societal goods are absent. What is present in the South is a culture emphasizing individual norms oriented towards short-term individual gains. On the basis of the distinction between social capital and individual norms, four different models of capitalism are developed and used to explain the different trajectories in economic development that have manifested themselves during the last three decades in southern Italy vis-a-vis the North and Centre of the country. Copyright 1995 by Oxford University Press.
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