How Persistent is Social Capital?
Formal and informal institutions are often thought of as being highly persistent, with historical events such as conflicts, authoritarian regimes or colonization having a long-lasting effect on their quality. To analyze the persistence of social capital, I look at regions which have experienced large-scale population displacements some 50-60 years ago. As social capital is embedded in relationships, regions that were repopulated by migrants are likely to start off with little inherited social capital. My analysis suggests that, with a lag of approximately two generations, the inhabitants of these regions display similar stocks of social capital as their counterparts in regions unaffected by population transfers. Hence, contrary to the Putnamesque view, much of the present-day social capital appears to have been formed in recent past rather than attributable to long-term historical legacies.
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