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Does social capital have an economic payoff? A cross-country investigation

Stephen Knack and Philip Keefer (1997)

Key facts

Journal/Publisher
The Quarterly Journal of Economics
Type of publication
Journal article
Elements of social cohesion
Trust
Other (social capital)
Geographical focus
Empirical
Main thematic areas
Economic development
Concept & measurement

Summary

This paper presents evidence that "social capital" matters for measurable economic performance, using indicators of trust and civic norms from the World Values Surveys for a sample of 29 market economies. Memberships in formal groups--Putnam's measure of social capital--is not associated with trust or with improved economic performance. We find trust and civic norms are stronger in nations with higher and more equal incomes, with institutions that restrain predatory actions of chief executives, and with better-educated and ethnically homogeneous populations.

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