Human Capital, Social Capital and Innovation: A Multi-Country Study
We examine the effects of two forms of capital, i.e. human capital and social capital, on innovation at the country level. We use secondary data from the World Development Report on a country’s overall human development to test for a relationship between human capital and innovation. We also use previous conceptualisations of social capital as comprising trust, associational activity, and norms of civic behaviour to test for relationships between these indicators of social capital and innovation using data from the World Values Survey. Unlike most previous studies that examined human and social capital within a given country, we develop and empirically test a theoretically grounded model that relates human and social capital to innovation at the societal level across 59 different countries, thus providing a more global view of the role of these two forms of capital in generating value. We find strong support for the positive relationship between human capital and innovation and partial support for the positive effect of trust and associational activity on innovation. However, contrary to our prediction, we find a negative relationship between norms of civic behaviour and one of our innovation measures.
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