شکاف ذهن ! سرمایه اجتماعی، شرق و غرب
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|4099||2008||23 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of Comparative Economics, Volume 36, Issue 2, June 2008, Pages 264–286
Social capital in Central and Eastern Europe lags behind that in Western European countries. We analyze the determinants of individual stock of social capital – measured by civic participation and access to social networks – and find that this gap persists when we account for individual characteristics and endowments of respondents. However, the gap disappears completely after we include aggregate measures of economic development and quality of institutions. Informal institutions such as the prevalence of corruption in post-communist countries appear particularly important. With the enlargement of the European Union, the gap in social capital should gradually disappear as the new member states catch up (economically and institutionally) with the old ones. Journal of Comparative Economics36 (2) (2008) 264–286.
Over the last decade, the interest in studying social capital has grown enormously among sociologists, political scientists and economists alike. While social capital is hardly a new concept, it has been greatly popularized by the seminal work of Robert Putnam, 1993. In his twenty-year long research on the quality of local governments in Italy, Putnam identified differences in civic participation (which he proxied, most notably, by membership in voluntary organizations) as the source of vast disparities in institutional quality and, in turn, economic performance between the North and South of Italy. A plethora of research has followed and social capital (which, as a general term, encompasses Putnam's civic participation) was found to have important real-life repercussions, in particular for economic, social and political development of societies. Macroeconomic studies ( Knack and Keefer, 1997, Whiteley, 2000 and Beugelsdijk and van Schaik, 2005) have found that, in cross-country perspective, higher density of trust and/or active membership in organizations is associated with higher growth. Offering an historical perspective on the issue, Greif (1994) argues that the cultural underpinnings of social interactions in medieval societies played a crucial role in reducing free riding and opportunistic behavior. These empirical findings cement Coleman's (1988) assertion that social capital, just like other forms of capital, is productive and facilitates the attainment of goals that otherwise would not be possible. Accordingly, high stock of social capital increases individuals' ability and willingness to cooperate, improves monitoring and enforcement of contracts, and reduces free-riding and information asymmetry. Social capital therefore lowers transaction costs, fosters innovation and dissemination of technology and thus leads to better economic outcomes. Despite the increasing recognition of the importance of social capital for economic outcomes, our understanding of factors that determine the stock of social capital – at the individual or aggregate levels – is still very limited. This is a major shortcoming, because “the dearth of research on determinants of social capital has held back its use as a policy tool in economic and social development” (Rupasingha et al., 2006, p. 84; see also Glaeser, 2001). The existing literature is concerned largely with measuring the stock of social capital (usually at the aggregate, national level) and its change over time and with investigating its impact on a particular variable of interest (typically economic and/or institutional development of countries). Little attention is given to analyzing the factors that determine the individual stock of social capital and/or to explaining the sources of cross-sectional differences across countries.2 This paper therefore constitutes one of the few attempts to bridge the gap between theory and empirics. Its contribution is threefold. First, we introduce a new and previously unavailable comparative dataset, based on multiple Eurobarometer surveys featuring a number of alternative measures of social capital for a sample of 28 European countries – including the old member countries of the European Union and the new member countries. Second, we take the analysis of the determinants of individual stock of social capital to another level by considering individual and aggregate (country specific) factors alike. By using large multi-country data sets of individual respondents, our study permits the simultaneous identification of individual-level and societal-level determinants of social capital. Finally, by focusing on social capital in the enlarged EU, we aim to shed light on the existing gap in the stock of social capital between the developed Western countries and the former communist countries of Central and Eastern Europe. In particular, we investigate whether and why cross-sectional differences in social capital exist in Europe. In doing so, our analysis seeks to determine whether the East–West gap in social capital is due to different individual endowments such as education levels or occupational structure or country-specific economic and institutional characteristics. As the data we are using were collected for the European Commission, our analysis is necessarily constrained to include only the old and new member countries of the EU. We construct measures of social capital applicable to both groups of countries and analyze them in a unified framework. We then discuss our findings specifically in the context of the enlargement process. Though there has been some research on social capital in post-communist countries3 (see Paldam and Svendsen, 2000 and Adam et al., 2004), to the best of our knowledge, we are the first to systematically develop and jointly analyze the formation of social capital in both developed and transition countries.4 In the previous literature on enlargement or, more generally, on the process of transition from communism to democracy and market economy, the focus has been on real and nominal convergence and on convergence in formal institutions (laws and regulations). Informal institutions such as social norms and rules of behavior have not received much attention. In this paper, we draw guidance from recent developments in the new institutional economics. That literature stresses the importance of informal institutions and their role in explaining differences across developed and less developed (both developing and transition) countries (see North, 1990 and Feige, 1997). Given that the former communist countries are still going through transformation involving tremendous institutional restructuring, it is very important that informal institutions develop in parallel to formal institutions, so that the two remain compatible. If this happens, the transaction costs of such institutional restructuring, expressed in the form of predatory activities such as corruption and tax evasion, will decrease (see Pejovich, 2003). On the other hand, if formal and informal institutions are in conflict with each other, more of such predatory activities may be expected, as shown empirically by Gërxhani (2004). Our analysis confirms the existence of a gap in social capital between Western and Eastern European countries. However, rather than being a permanent legacy of communism, our findings suggest that this gap reflects the lower level of economic development and the poorer quality of institutions in the latter countries. As such, it should gradually disappear as the post-communist countries catch up with respect to both their economic development and the quality of institutions. The paper is organized as follows. The next section reviews the previous literature about social capital and its measurement; Section 3 introduces our data and explains the measures that we use; Section 4 presents the conceptual framework; Section 5 provides empirical insights on the individual determinants of social capital; Section 6 completes the analysis by integrating individual and aggregate factors; finally, Section 7 provides conclusions.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
Using recent Eurobarometer surveys, this paper presents new and previously unavailable comparative data featuring a number of alternative measures of social capital for a sample of 28 European countries, including the old member countries of the European Union, the countries that since 2004 have joined the EU as new members (mainly Central and Eastern European countries) and Turkey. Focusing on civic participation and access to social networks as two key (quantitative and qualitative) measures of social capital, we analyze the determinants of individual stock of social capital, considering individual (socio-economic and demographic characteristics) and aggregate (economic development and quality of institutions) factors alike. Previous literature – Paldam and Svendsen (2000) and Adam et al. (2004) – identified a gap in the average stock of social capital between the developed Western countries and the former communist countries of Central and Eastern Europe. That literature attributes the presence of this gap to the legacy of communism. Our findings confirm this gap both when looking at the raw data and in regression analysis when considering only individual determinants of social capital. We find, however, that the gap between East and West disappears completely once we account for some basic aspects of economic development and quality of institutions in the individual countries. Hence, the fact that the new member states display lower levels of social capital can be attributed to their lower level of economic development and poorer institutions, especially more pervasive corruption, rather than potentially long-lasting historical legacy of communism.30 Although convergence in formal institutions between the old and the new member states has to a large extent been accomplished (largely as a prerequisite of their accession to the EU), there remains a mismatch between these ‘harmonized’ formal institutions and the existing informal institutions in the new member countries (see Pejovich, 2003, for a broader discussion). This lack of correspondence, embodied in the prevalence of corruption and other predatory activities, may be the underlying reason for the gap in social capital. This argument can be reinforced by our finding that the participation in Olsonian groups (formal political groups and parties or unions) is much lower than in Putnamesque groups in the new member countries, reflecting the individuals' lack of trust in formal institutions. In this respect, we agree with previous research that argues that social capital (as measured by voluntary participation in organizations) is not merely dependent on individuals' wealth, education or particular interests but also on the cultural and institutional arrangements defined at the national level (Schofer and Fourcade-Gourinchas, 2001). The enlargement of the European Union is expected to foster institutional development and encourage adoption of growth-enhancing economic policies in the new member countries. This will, in turn, discourage rent-seeking, motivate a rewarding scheme of leadership based on performance, enhance public trust in the state's actions and promote civic spirit. All this should reduce the return to ‘negative’ social capital and encourage the formation of ‘positive’ social capital. Thus, once Central and Eastern European countries catch up with the West in terms of economic development and institutions, they are very likely to close the gap in social capital as well. For this to be possible, however, a gradual harmonization of formal rules and informal norms between the two groups of countries should be of primary importance.