Edited by Hans Westlund and Johan P. Larsson
Chapter 10: The social capital of European regions
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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