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Capital social et développement : quelques éléments d'analyse

The whole work on the role of institutions and social environment in economy is gathered under the general name of social capital. In a more precise way, we can consider one agent's social capital as a social resource, resulting from the cultural and/or structural interactions with other agents (any cluster is an agent), able to generate durable externalities which affect the economic situation of all of these agents. Consequently, the heart of the analysis resides in the relational character of the concept. Indeed, since these relations take place out-market, they can generate three externalities: learning about the behaviour of agents, learning about their environment, and collective action. The two first, which refer to the concept of information, are likely to improve the welfare of agents; it is fairly accepted in economy that a quantitative and/or qualitative improvement of information allows the agents to take more efficient decisions, because better adapted to the reality of the economic situation. Concerning the third externality, collective action, the joint setting of resources makes it possible to achieve goals which bring to each individual a higher utility than the one he would get from an individual action. This is the principle of economies of scale. According to this, social capital tends to be a fundamental asset for development, but this image is only partly true. In fact, it appeared that in certain cases social capital can generate negative externalities which support social exclusion. Moreover, certain shapes of social capital can, from their " perverse " nature (for example Mafia) hinder the development process. Hence, social capital seems to be an ambivalent concept, so that the recourse to statistical instruments appears necessary to rule on the primacy of an effect on the other. Two distinct levels of analysis are considered: the microeconomic framework and the macroeconomic one; but they both share the same (direct) methodology where social capital is the principal explanatory variable of a regression model. Generally, the econometric tests underline the role of this concept in incomes growth. Therefore, it appears that social capital needs more attention in the analysis of development, and in particular with regard to the study of poverty and inequalities.(Full text in French)

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Paper provided by Groupe d'Economie du Développement de l'Université Montesquieu Bordeaux IV in its series Documents de travail with number 57.

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Length: 26 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2001
Handle: RePEc:mon:ceddtr:57
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  1. Zak, Paul J & Knack, Stephen, 2001. "Trust and Growth," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(470), pages 295-321, April.
  2. 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.
  3. Yves Fournier & Alpha Ouedraogo, 1996. "Les coopératives d'épargne et de crédit en Afrique. Historique et évolutions récentes," Revue Tiers Monde, Programme National Persée, vol. 37(145), pages 67-83.
  4. John F. Helliwell, 1996. "Economic Growth and Social Capital in Asia," NBER Working Papers 5470, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Barro, Robert J, 1996. "Democracy and Growth," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 1-27, March.
  6. William Easterly & Ross Levine, 1997. "Africa's Growth Tragedy: Policies and Ethnic Divisions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1203-1250.
  7. Rodrik, Dani, 1999. "Where Did All the Growth Go? External Shocks, Social Conflict, and Growth Collapses," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 4(4), pages 385-412, December.
  8. Jean-Pierre Lachaud, 1994. "Marché du travail et exclusion sociale en Afrique francophone : quelques éléments d'analyse," Documents de travail 01, Groupe d'Economie du Développement de l'Université Montesquieu Bordeaux IV.
  9. Townsend, Robert M, 1994. "Risk and Insurance in Village India," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(3), pages 539-591, May.
  10. Narayan, Deepa & Pritchett, Lant, 1999. "Cents and Sociability: Household Income and Social Capital in Rural Tanzania," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 47(4), pages 871-897, July.
  11. Paolo Mauro, 1995. "Corruption and Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(3), pages 681-712.
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