Edited by Hans Westlund and Johan P. Larsson
Chapter 2: Social capital and networks in spatial economies
This chapter examines in which ways social and economic networks can be a part of social capital, and to what extent social capital can be understood as a resource for organizing economic networks. It is recognized that social capital is a spatial public good with geographic extension. This suggests that social capital is intangible and benefits certain groups of actors who are associated with spatial areas for which the social capital is present. The extension of social capital can be identified on a scale ranging from community culture to system-wide institutions. A major part of the analysis focuses on how economic and social networks differ in nature and motivation, observing that economic links often lack a public-good nature, for example by excluding competitors. There is also a comparison between the concepts of social capital and social infrastructure. The analysis suggests that future research should consider the following three areas: (1) social and societal capital; (2) exclusion, interaction and sharing; and (3) accessibility and agglomeration economies.
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