The Troika of Sociology, Political Science and Economics
Edited by Gert Tingaard Svendsen and Gunnar Lind Haase Svendsen
Chapter 16: The Labour Market
* Fabio Sabatini 16.1 Introduction The positive role of social capital in economic development is now commonly acknowledged in the scientiﬁc and political debate. However, both social capital and economic development must be looked on as multidimensional concepts: the deﬁnition of what type of social capital may provide a positive contribution to the wealth and progress of a society is still a subject of major contention. One of the most popular deﬁnitions of social capital refers to the set of ‘features of social life – networks, norms, and trust – that enable participants to act together more eﬀectively to pursue shared objectives’ (Putnam, 1995). Drawing on more than a decade of empirical investigations, the literature has classiﬁed the elements in the set into three main types of social capital: bonding, bridging and linking. Bonding social capital relates to networks between homogeneous groups of people, quite close to outsiders, that constrain members into their boundaries. Bridging networks are shaped by weak ties connecting people belonging to diﬀerent socio-economic backgrounds. Examples are culture and sports clubs. Linking social capital refers to vertical connections with people in power, whether they are in politically or ﬁnancially inﬂuential positions. Examples are voluntary organizations and social services agencies. Bonding social capital is generally considered as a source of backwardness, while bridging and linking ties are supposed to foster the diﬀusion of information and trust, with beneﬁcial eﬀects for economic activity and well-being. The economics literature on social capital generally...
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