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Institutions, social capital and economic development in Latin America


  • Paula Pavarina



Economic theory has proposed and discussed a lot of possible factors or explanations that promote or foster economic development. One of these gathers specific discussions from other Social Sciences, incorporating social, cultural, religious, institutional and political dimensions – and among them, the idea of 'social capital'. Although the discussion held by Putnam on the benefits of association, civic involvement and interpersonal trust is extremely rich, this paper incorporates the discussion advocated by the World Bank, and the central ideas of Woolcock and Narayan papers, since they extend the scope of analysis, making what is called 'synergic vision' of social capital. These authors consider that 'social capital does not exist in a political vacuum', ie there is no way to separate the elements that characterize the social and the political and institutional elements that surround it. The ‘community social capital' of Putnam cannot be understood without the macro-environment in which it operates. Then this paper aims to explain the economic behavior in Latin America, considering the importance of the attributes directly related to social capital (interpersonal trust, which leads to the association and the civic involvement) pari passu governance, ie the formal attributes related to the action of the state, which establishes social, political and economic behavior. It wants to explain if these two dimensions are correlated in order to explain the behavior of agents in different economies in Latin America and their economic development.

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  • Paula Pavarina, 2011. "Institutions, social capital and economic development in Latin America," ERSA conference papers ersa11p1531, European Regional Science Association.
  • Handle: RePEc:wiw:wiwrsa:ersa11p1531

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Norman Loayza & Pablo Fajnzylber & César Calderón, 2005. "Economic Growth in Latin America and the Caribbean : Stylized Facts, Explanations, and Forecasts," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 7315, December.
    2. Robert Oxoby, 2009. "Understanding social inclusion, social cohesion, and social capital," International Journal of Social Economics, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 36(12), pages 1133-1152, October.
    3. Woolcock, Michael & Narayan, Deepa, 2000. "Social Capital: Implications for Development Theory, Research, and Policy," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 15(2), pages 225-249, August.
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