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Social Capital, Public Spending and the Quality of Economic Development: The Case of Italy

Author

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  • Fabio Sabatini

    (University of Rome La Sapienza)

Abstract

This paper carries out an empirical assessment of the relationship between social capital and the quality of economic development in Italy. The analysis draws on a dataset collected by the author including about two hundred variables representing different aspects of economic development and four “structural” dimensions of social capital. The quality of development is measured through human development and indicators of the state of health of urban ecosystems, public services, gender equality, and labour markets, while social capital is measured through synthetic indicators representing strong family ties, weak informal ties, voluntary organizations, and political participation. The quality of development exhibits a strong positive correlation with bridging weak ties and a negative correlation with strong family ties. Particularly, the analysis shows a strong correlation between informal ties and an indicator of “social well-being” (synthesizing gender equality, public services and labour markets) and between voluntary organizations and the state of health of urban ecosystems. Active political participation proves to be irrelevant in terms of development and well-being. Finally, the role of public spending for education, health care, welfare work, and the environment protection is analysed, revealing a scarce correlation both with social capital and development indicators.

Suggested Citation

  • Fabio Sabatini, 2006. "Social Capital, Public Spending and the Quality of Economic Development: The Case of Italy," Working Papers 2006.14, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  • Handle: RePEc:fem:femwpa:2006.14
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. John F. Helliwell & Robert D. Putnam, 1995. "Economic Growth and Social Capital in Italy," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 21(3), pages 295-307, Summer.
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    6. Fabio Sabatini, 2005. "Resources for the Study of Social Capital," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(2), pages 198-198, April.
    7. Golden, Miriam A., 2003. "Electoral Connections: The Effects of the Personal Vote on Political Patronage, Bureaucracy and Legislation in Postwar Italy," British Journal of Political Science, Cambridge University Press, vol. 33(02), pages 189-212, April.
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    9. Johnson, Paul & Temple, Jonathan, 1996. "Social Capability and Economic Development," Vassar College Department of Economics Working Paper Series 37, Vassar College Department of Economics.
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    12. Steven N. Durlauf, 2002. "On the Empirics of Social Capital," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(483), pages 459-479, November.
    13. Angelo Antoci & Pier Luigi Sacco & Paolo Vanin, 2001. "Economic Growth and Social Poverty: The Evolution of Social Participation," Bonn Econ Discussion Papers bgse13_2001, University of Bonn, Germany.
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    Cited by:

    1. Tuba Cekic, 2011. "Redefining Turkey's Regional Economic Disparities Through Social Participation," ERSA conference papers ersa11p184, European Regional Science Association.
    2. Fabio Sabatini, 2005. "Social capital as social networks. A new framework for measurement," Working Papers 83, University of Rome La Sapienza, Department of Public Economics.
    3. Fabio, Sabatini, 2007. "Social capital, social enterprises, public spending and well-being in Italy
      [Capitale sociale, imprese sociali, spesa pubblica e benessere sociale in Italia]
      ," MPRA Paper 2365, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Fabio Sabatini, 2007. "Mapping Italy’s social capital," QA - Rivista dell'Associazione Rossi-Doria, Associazione Rossi Doria, issue 1, March.
    5. Ferrante, Francesco & Sabatini, Fabio, 2007. "Education, social capital and entrepreneurial selection in Italy," MPRA Paper 2451, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Coffé, Hilde & Geys, Benny, 2006. "Towards an empirical characterization of bridging and bonding social capital
      [Zur empirischen Charakterisierung von heterogenen (bridging) und homogenen (bonding) Arten des Sozialkapitals]
      ," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Market Processes and Governance SP II 2006-11, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Social capital; Social networks; Public spending; Economic development; Human development; Principal component analysis;

    JEL classification:

    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • O18 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Urban, Rural, Regional, and Transportation Analysis; Housing; Infrastructure
    • R11 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Regional Economic Activity: Growth, Development, Environmental Issues, and Changes
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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