Table of Contents

Social Capital and Rural Development in the Knowledge Society

Social Capital and Rural Development in the Knowledge Society

New Horizons in Regional Science series

Edited by Hans Westlund and Kiyoshi Kobayashi

Social capital is often considered a key factor for local development. This book analyzes the role of social capital for rural areas’ survival and development in the current age of metropolitan growth – an era in which urban is the norm and where rural areas must adapt to this new situation and build innovative urban-rural relations.

Chapter 8: Social capital and economic growth in China’s provinces

Yuheng Li and Hans Westlund

Subjects: development studies, development studies, environment, environmental sociology, geography, human geography, social policy and sociology, sociology and sociological theory, urban and regional studies, regional studies, urban studies


The post-reform performance of the Chinese economy (on average 9 percent annual growth for over 30 years) has been a hot spot in economic literature. Numerous studies have attributed the flourishing Chinese economy after 1978 to the investment of physical capital in production (Li 1992; Chow 1993; Yusuf 1994; Ezaki and Li 1998; Liu and Li 2001; Chow and Lin 2002; Arayama and Miyoshi 2004; Bai et al. 2006; Urel and Zebregs 2009). Many studies have also examined the role of human capital and found strong and positive influence on the Chinese economy (Wang and Hu 1999; Cai and Du 2000; Shen and Tian 2002; Wang and Yao 2003; Chen et al. 2004; Qian and Smyth 2005; Kuo and Yang 2008). Moreover, there are studies focusing on the roles of infrastructure development, technology progress, innovation, export and open policy (Démurger 2001; Chatterjee 2005; Yao 2006; Li et al. 2007; Fan 2008; Funke and Yu 2009; Sahoo et al. 2010). The above mentioned studies mostly concentrate on the factors that have direct linkages with the Chinese economy, such as investment in physical capital and labor supply. However, social factors like people’s trust, norms and social networks, which may influence the economy indirectly, have not been a research topic. A summarizing concept for social networks and the norms and values that are distributed in them is social capital (Coleman 1988).

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