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The Bright Side of Social Capital: How 'Bridging' Makes Italian Provinces More Innovative

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  • Riccardo Crescenzi
  • Luisa Gagliardi
  • Marco Percoco

Abstract

Social capital has remained relatively underexplored in innovation literature. Existing studies have failed to reach a consensus on its impact on local innovative performance: some empirical analyses emphasize a positive effect, others speak about a 'dark side' of social capital. This paper aims to fill this gap by shedding new light on the differential role of 'bonding' and 'bridging' social capital. The quantitative analysis of the innovative performance of the Italian provinces shows that social capital is an important predictor of innovative performance after controlling for 'traditional' knowledge inputs (R&D investments and human capital endowment) and other characteristics of the local economy. However, only 'bridging' social capital - based on weak ties - can be identified as the key driver of the process of innovation while 'bonding' social capital is shown to be negative for innovation. Instrumental variable analysis makes it possible to identify clear causal links between bridging (positive) and bonding (negative) social capital and innovation.

Suggested Citation

  • Riccardo Crescenzi & Luisa Gagliardi & Marco Percoco, 2011. "The Bright Side of Social Capital: How 'Bridging' Makes Italian Provinces More Innovative," SERC Discussion Papers 0096, Spatial Economics Research Centre, LSE.
  • Handle: RePEc:cep:sercdp:0096
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    Cited by:

    1. Giorgio Calcagnini & Germana Giombini & Francesco Perugini, 2016. "Bank Foundations, Social Capital, and the Growth of Italian Provinces," Mo.Fi.R. Working Papers 131, Money and Finance Research group (Mo.Fi.R.) - Univ. Politecnica Marche - Dept. Economic and Social Sciences.
    2. Antonio Bubbico, 2013. "Administrative Continuity: Enhancer or Constraint for Regional Governments' Efficiency?," ERSA conference papers ersa13p493, European Regional Science Association.
    3. Roberto Antonietti & Ron Boschma, 2018. "Social capital, resilience and regional diversification in Italy," Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography (PEEG) 1804, Utrecht University, Department of Human Geography and Spatial Planning, Group Economic Geography, revised Jan 2018.
    4. Bozzano, Monica, 2017. "On the historical roots of women's empowerment across Italian provinces: religion or family culture?," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 24-46.
    5. Monica Bozzano, 2015. "On the Historical Roots of Women’s Empowerment across Italian Provinces: Religion or Family Culture?," Department of Economics 0052, University of Modena and Reggio E., Faculty of Economics "Marco Biagi".

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Innovation; social capital; knowledge transfer; regional development;

    JEL classification:

    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
    • R15 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Econometric and Input-Output Models; Other Methods

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