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Social capital, growth and poverty: a survey of cross-country evidence


  • Knack, Stephen


This chapter surveys the major contributions to the rapidly growing empirical literature on social capital and economic performance, focusing primarily on cross-country approaches. It first addresses characteristics of governments that fall under broad definitions of the term social capital. It then reviews studies of “civil,” or nongovernmental, social capital. Most of this literature explores the determinants of growth in per capita income, devoting no attention to distributional effects. This chapter is a preliminary attempt to fill that gap by providing new cross-country evidence on the effects of social capital on poverty and the distribution of income. This chapter is limited primarily to cross-country studies of social capital and economic performance. It does not attempt to comprehensively review regional-, village-, or individual-level analysis or the expanding literature on social capital’s impact on noneconomic outcomes, such as health, education, or crime. Nor does it examine the rapidly growing body of work that explores the determinants of social capital.

Suggested Citation

  • Knack, Stephen, 2002. "Social capital, growth and poverty: a survey of cross-country evidence," MPRA Paper 24893, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 0200.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:24893

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. DeanS. Karlan, 2007. "Social connections and group banking," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(517), pages 52-84, February.

    More about this item


    social capital; development; trust; norms;

    JEL classification:

    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification


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