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Christoforou, A. (2011). Social Capital Across European Countries: Individual and Aggregate Determinants of Group Membership. American Journal of Economics and Sociology 70 (3), 699–728.

Social capital refers to norms and networks of reciprocity, trust, and cooperation that facilitate coordinated action for a mutual benefit. Theoretical and empirical studies have documented the positive contribution of social capital in social welfare and development. This study empirically explores the determinants of social capital, in the form of group membership, across European countries. Data is derived from the European Community Household Panel, which covers a large sample of individuals from a set of European countries. Binary logistic regression models are applied to regress an index of individuals' group membership on a set of individual characteristics (income, education, gender, age, marital status, employment), as well as aggregate characteristics of countries (GDP per capita, income inequality, social trust, trust in public institutions, corruption, unemployment, and violation of political and civil rights). Results provide evidence of the impact of both individual and aggregate factors on group membership. These factors constitute a possible means to rebuilding patterns of social capital, especially in Southern European countries, where special-interest groups and patron-client relations prevail over generalized norms and networks of reciprocity, trust, and cooperation that promote wider social welfare and development objectives.


Christoforou, Asimina

Asimina Christoforou is Adjunct Professor at the Athens University of Economics and Business, Greece, and Co-ordinator of the Social Capital Working Group of the International Initiative for Promoting Political Economy (IIPPE). She is member of the editorial board of the Journal of Economic Issues...

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