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Measuring Social Capital in East Asia and Other World Regions: Index of Social Capital for 72 Countries


  • Dan Lee
  • Kap-Young Jeong
  • Sean Chae


Critics opine that social capital, despite its importance, provides little empirical insight because it is difficult to measure. This paper develops a broad measure of social capital, incorporating four major components: social trust, norms, social networks, and social structure. We constructed an index of social capital for 72 countries by extracting the principal components from 44 variables. Consistent with the social capital literature, the index of social capital is significantly associated with various social and economic indicators, such as income per capita, education, infant mortality, regulatory quality and even happiness. We compare the levels of social capital between East Asia and other world regions. The results suggest that although the level of social capital varies widely across countries, East Asia has markedly less social capital than Western Europe or North America.

Suggested Citation

  • Dan Lee & Kap-Young Jeong & Sean Chae, 2011. "Measuring Social Capital in East Asia and Other World Regions: Index of Social Capital for 72 Countries," Global Economic Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(4), pages 385-407, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:glecrv:v:40:y:2011:i:4:p:385-407 DOI: 10.1080/1226508X.2011.626149

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Yuki Kudoh & Venkatachalam Anbumozhi, . "Selecting the Best Mix of Renewable and Conventional Energy Sources for Asian Communities," Books, Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA), number 2014-rpr-26 edited by Yuki Kudoh & Venkatachalam Anbumozhi.
    2. Yann Algan & Pierre Cahuc, 2010. "Inherited Trust and Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(5), pages 2060-2092, December.
    3. Zhang, Yanlong, 2015. "The contingent value of social resources: Entrepreneurs' use of debt-financing sources in Western China," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 390-406.
    4. Ng, Adam & Ibrahim, Mansor H. & Mirakhor, Abbas, 2016. "Does trust contribute to stock market development?," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 52(PA), pages 239-250.
    5. Ibrahim, Mansor H. & Law, Siong Hook, 2014. "Social capital and CO2 emission—output relations: A panel analysis," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 29(C), pages 528-534.
    6. Zhang, Yanlong & Zhou, Xiaoyu & Lei, Wei, 2017. "Social Capital and Its Contingent Value in Poverty Reduction: Evidence from Western China," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 350-361.

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