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Social Capital Formation across Space


  • Giorgio Fazio

    () (Università degli Studi di Palermo, Palermo, Italy
    University of Glasgow, Scotland, UK)

  • Luciano Lavecchia

    (Università degli Studi di Palermo, Palermo, Italy
    Banca d’Italia—Palermo Branch, Palermo, Italy.)


An extensive economics and regional science literature has discussed the importance of social capital for economic growth and development. Yet, what social capital is and how it is formed are elusive issues, which require further investigation. Here, we refer to social capital in terms of “civic†capital and “good culture,†as rephrased by Guiso, Sapienza, and Zingales and Tabellini. The accumulation of this kind of capital allows the emerging of regional informal institutions, which may help explaining differences in regional development. In this article, we take a regional perspective and use exploratory space and space–time methods to assess whether geography, via proximity, contributes to the formation of social capital across European regions. In particular, we investigate whether generalized trust, a fundamental constituent of civic capital and an ingredient of economic development, tends to be clustered in space and over time. From the policy standpoint, the spatial “path dependence†of regional trust may contribute to the formation of “spatial traps†of social capital and act as a further barrier to regional economic development and convergence.

Suggested Citation

  • Giorgio Fazio & Luciano Lavecchia, 2013. "Social Capital Formation across Space," International Regional Science Review, , vol. 36(3), pages 296-321, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:inrsre:v:36:y:2013:i:3:p:296-321

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    Cited by:

    1. Aleberto Alesina & Guido Tabellini & Francesco Trebbi, 2017. "Is Europe an Optimal Political Area?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 48(1 (Spring), pages 169-234.
    2. Giorgio Fazio & Enza Maltese & Davide Piacentino, 2016. "Fiducia verso persone e istituzioni: evidenze da una survey sul capitale civico degli studenti," RIVISTA DI ECONOMIA E STATISTICA DEL TERRITORIO, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 2016(3), pages 100-112.
    3. Isabel Neira & Fernando Bruna & Marta Portela & Adela García-Aracil, 2018. "Individual Well-Being, Geographical Heterogeneity and Social Capital," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 19(4), pages 1067-1090, April.
    4. Aniello Ferraro & Massimiliano Cerciello & Massimiliano Agovino & Antonio Garofalo, 2019. "The role of cultural consumption in reducing social exclusion: empirical evidence from Italy in a spatial framework," Economia Politica: Journal of Analytical and Institutional Economics, Springer;Fondazione Edison, vol. 36(1), pages 139-166, April.


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