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Van Deth, J. W. (2010). Participation in Voluntary Associations: Dark Shades in a Sunny World? American Behavioral Scientist 53 (5), 640-656.

The benevolent consequences of social capital are clearly related to membership in voluntary associations. Irrespective of the type of association, members in voluntary associations in 19 European democracies show higher levels of satisfaction with democracy and higher levels of political engagement than nonmembers. “Bad” forms of social capital are not widely spread among voluntary associations, but potentially any type of association can be depicted as a “bad” form of social capital. In particular, religious organizations frequently appear as an example of “bad” social capital. Because this last conclusion is related to political saliency, only a few “dark shades” in the mainly sunny world of voluntary associations in Europe can be observed.


Van Deth, Jan W.

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