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Measuring Social Capital: Culture as an Explanation of Italy's Economic Dualism

Author

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  • Galassi, F.L.

Abstract

The paper presents a quantitative test of the oft-repeated view that Italy's backward and poor South suffered from low "social capital", a tendency to defect from co-operative engagements. The problem with such assertions is that they run the risk of taking as evidence in favour of the hypothesis the very observations that need to be explained. The analysis carried out in this work tries to break out of this impasse by analyzing the conditions under which it was ex ante welfare-improving for farmers in early 20th century Italy to join an unlimited liability rural co-operative bank which would give them access to cheaper credit but also exposed them to the risk of their neighbours' defection.

Suggested Citation

  • Galassi, F.L., 2000. "Measuring Social Capital: Culture as an Explanation of Italy's Economic Dualism," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 553, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:wrk:warwec:553
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    File URL: https://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/economics/research/workingpapers/2008/twerp553.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Edward L. Glaeser & David Laibson & Jose A. Scheinkman & Christine L. Soutter, 1999. "What is Social Capital? The Determinants of Trust and Trustworthiness," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1875, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
    2. Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen & Loury, Glenn, 1993. "The Economics of Rotating Savings and Credit Associations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 792-810.
    3. Abhijit V. Banerjee & Timothy Besley & Timothy W. Guinnane, 1994. "Thy Neighbor's Keeper: The Design of a Credit Cooperative with Theory and a Test," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, pages 491-515.
    4. Basu, Kaushik, 1995. "Civil institutions and evolution: Concepts, critique and models," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 19-33, February.
    5. Polsi, Alessandro, 1996. "Financial institutions in nineteenth-century Italy. The rise of a banking system," Financial History Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 3(02), pages 117-137, October.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    POVERTY ; CULTURE ; SOCIAL CAPITAL;

    JEL classification:

    • I30 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty

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