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The fragility of social capital

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  • Angelo Antoci

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  • Fabio Sabatini

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  • Mauro Sodini

    ()

Abstract

This paper addresses two hot topics of the contemporary debate, social capital and economic growth. Our theoretical analysis sheds light on decisive but so far neglected issues: how does social capital accumulate over time? Which is the relationship between social capital, technical progress and economic growth in the long run? The analysis shows that the economy may be attracted by alternative steady states, depending on the initial social capital endowments and cultural exogenous parameters representing the relevance of social interaction and trust in well-being and production. When material consumption and relational goods are substitutable, the choice to devote more and more time to private activities may lead the economy to a “social poverty trap”, where the cooling of human relations causes a progressive destruction of the entire stock of social capital. In this case, the relationship of social capital with technical progress is described by an inverted U-shaped curve. However, the possibility exists for the economy to follow a virtuous trajectory where the stock of social capital endogenously and unboundedly grows. Such result may follow from a range of particular conditions, under which the economy behaves as if there was no substitutability between relational activities and material consumption

Suggested Citation

  • Angelo Antoci & Fabio Sabatini & Mauro Sodini, 2009. "The fragility of social capital," Department of Economics University of Siena 551, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
  • Handle: RePEc:usi:wpaper:551
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Angelo Antoci & Mauro Sodini & Luca Zarri, 2014. "Relational consumption and nonlinear dynamics in an overlapping generations model," Decisions in Economics and Finance, Springer;Associazione per la Matematica, pages 137-158.
    2. Angelo Antoci & Mauro Sodini & Luca Zarri, 2014. "Relational consumption and nonlinear dynamics in an overlapping generations model," Decisions in Economics and Finance, Springer;Associazione per la Matematica, pages 137-158.
    3. Mohammad Javad Razmi & Adegbemi Sahar Sherkat Bazzazan, 2012. "A Review of the Effect of Social Capital on Human Development in Iran," International Journal of Economics and Financial Issues, Econjournals, pages 448-459.
    4. Fabio Sabatini, 2007. "Mapping Italy’s social capital," QA - Rivista dell'Associazione Rossi-Doria, Associazione Rossi Doria, issue 1, March.
    5. Stanislaw Walukiewicz & Aneta Wiktorzak, 2011. "Social Capital in Education," ERSA conference papers ersa10p632, European Regional Science Association.
    6. Stanislaw Walukiewicz, 2011. "Measuring Social Capital and Proximimty," ERSA conference papers ersa10p309, European Regional Science Association.
    7. Araujo, Luis & Minetti, Raoul, 2011. "Knowledge sharing and the dynamics of social capital," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 55(8), pages 1109-1119.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Economic growth; Technical progress; Transitional dynamics; Social capital; Social norms;

    JEL classification:

    • A13 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Social Values
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
    • O49 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Other
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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