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The empirics of social capital and economic development: a critical perspective

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  • Fabio, Sabatini

Abstract

This paper provides an introduction to the concept of social capital, and carries out a critical review of the empirical literature on social capital and economic development. The survey points out six main weaknesses affecting the empirics of social capital. Identified weaknesses are then used to analyze, in a critical perspective, some prominent empirical studies and new interesting researches published in last two years. The need emerges to acknowledge, also within the empirical research, the multidimensional, context-dependent and dynamic nature of social capital. The survey also underlines that, although it has gained a certain popularity in the empirical research, the use of “indirect” indicators may be misleading. Such measures do not represent social capital’s key components identified by the theoretical literature, and their use causes a considerable confusion about what social capital is, as distinct from its outcomes, and what the relationship between social capital and its outcomes may be. Research reliant upon an outcome of social capital as an indicator of it will necessarily find social capital to be related to that outcome. This paper suggests to focus the empirical research firstly on the “structural” aspects of the concept, therefore excluding by the measurement toolbox all indicators referring to social capital’s supposed outcomes.

Suggested Citation

  • Fabio, Sabatini, 2005. "The empirics of social capital and economic development: a critical perspective," MPRA Paper 2366, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Mar 2007.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:2366
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    File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/2366/1/MPRA_paper_2366.pdf
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    Cited by:

    1. Eiji Yamamura, 2011. "Differences in the effect of social capital on health status between workers and non-workers," International Review of Economics, Springer;Happiness Economics and Interpersonal Relations (HEIRS), vol. 58(4), pages 385-400, December.
    2. Antoci, Angelo & Sabatini, Fabio & Sodini, Mauro, 2012. "The Solaria syndrome: Social capital in a growing hyper-technological economy," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 81(3), pages 802-814.
    3. Sabatini, Fabio, 2009. "Does social capital create trust? Evidence from a community of entrepreneurs," AICCON Working Papers 58-2009, Associazione Italiana per la Cultura della Cooperazione e del Non Profit.
    4. Sabatini, Fabio, 2014. "The relationship between happiness and health: Evidence from Italy," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 114(C), pages 178-187.
    5. Fabio Sabatini, 2009. "The relationship between trust and networks. An exploratory empirical analysis," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 29(2), pages 661-672.
    6. Sabatini Fabio, 2009. "Work status and family planning: Insights from the Italian puzzle," wp.comunite 0058, Department of Communication, University of Teramo.
    7. Antoci, Angelo & Sabatini, Fabio & Sodini, Mauro, 2009. "The fragility of social capital," AICCON Working Papers 59-2009, Associazione Italiana per la Cultura della Cooperazione e del Non Profit.
    8. Antoci Angelo & Sabatini Fabio & Sodini Mauro, 2009. "Will growth and technology destroy social interaction? The inverted U-shape hypothesis," wp.comunite 0057, Department of Communication, University of Teramo.
    9. Sabatini, Fabio, 2011. "Democracy or videocracy? An econometric analysis of the role of television in the Italian political arena," MPRA Paper 31117, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. Fabio Sabatini, 2012. "Who Trusts B erlusconi? An Econometric Analysis of the Role of Television in the Political Arena," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 65(1), pages 111-131, February.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Social capital; Social networks; Trust; Economic development; Relation of economics to other disciplines; Relation of economics to social values;

    JEL classification:

    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification
    • Z19 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Other

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