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

Listed author(s):
  • Fabio Sabatini

    (University of Rome La Sapienza)

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.

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Paper provided by Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei in its series Working Papers with number 2006.14.

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Date of creation: Jan 2006
Handle: RePEc:fem:femwpa:2006.14
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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.
  2. Jonathan Temple & Paul A. Johnson, 1998. "Social Capability and Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(3), pages 965-990.
  3. Alberto Alesina & Eliana La Ferrara, 2000. "Participation in Heterogeneous Communities," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 847-904.
  4. Robert J. Barro, 1998. "Determinants of Economic Growth: A Cross-Country Empirical Study," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262522543, July.
  5. repec:fth:oxesaf:97-2.1 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. Steven N. Durlauf, 2002. "On the Empirics of Social Capital," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(483), pages 459-479, November.
  7. Routledge, Bryan R. & von Amsberg, Joachim, 2003. "Social capital and growth," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 167-193, January.
  8. 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.
  9. Jonathan Temple & Paul Johnson, 1996. "Social capability and economic development," Economics Papers 21 & 114, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
  10. Gaute Torsvik, 2000. "Social Capital And Economic Development," Rationality and Society, , vol. 12(4), pages 451-476, November.
  11. Harrison Hong & Jeffrey D. Kubik & Jeremy C. Stein, 2004. "Social Interaction and Stock-Market Participation," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 59(1), pages 137-163, 02.
  12. Foley, Michael W. & Edwards, Bob, 1999. "Is It Time to Disinvest in Social Capital?," Journal of Public Policy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 19(02), pages 141-173, May.
  13. 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.
  14. Kormendi, Roger C. & Meguire, Philip G., 1985. "Macroeconomic determinants of growth: Cross-country evidence," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 141-163, September.
  15. 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.
  16. Brown, L. David & Ashman, Darcy, 1996. "Participation, social capital, and intersectoral problem solving: African and Asian cases," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 24(9), pages 1467-1479, September.
  17. Dora L. Costa & Matthew E. Kahn, 2003. "Understanding the American Decline in Social Capital, 1952--1998," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 56(1), pages 17-46, February.
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