Handbook of Social Capital and Regional Development
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Handbook of Social Capital and Regional Development

Edited by Hans Westlund and Johan P. Larsson

The role of social capital in regional development is a multifaceted topic which is studied all over the world using various methods and across numerous disciplines. It has long been evident that social capital is important for regional development, however, it is less clear how this works in practice. Do all types of social capital have the same effects and are different kinds of regions impacted in the same way? This book is the first to offer an overview of this rapidly expanding field of research and to thoroughly analyse the complex issue of social capital and regional development.
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Chapter 10: The social capital of European regions

Emanuele Ferragina


Social capital is a multi-dimensional concept, which reinstates the importance of informal social networks, formal social networks and social trust for the functioning of societies and institutions. The study of European history and the increasing political and administrative autonomy of European regions offer theoretical and empirical ground to undertake research at the comparative level. In this respect, Beugelsdijk and Van Schaik (2005a; 2005b) proposed a first comparative measurement of social capital in European regions. In this chapter, I deal with the technical shortcomings of their work and I propose in conclusion a categorization of European regions based on classical sociological theory. The remainder of the chapter is as follows: first, I discuss the rationale to propose a cross-regional analysis of social capital in order to complement the traditional cross-national comparisons; second I analyse the most influential methods adopted to measure social capital; third, I discuss the method used in the chapter to categorize European regions and nations; and fourth, I compare the cross-regional and cross-national classifications.

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