01 Jan 1993
Abstract: After briefly explaining why social capital (civil society) is important to democracy, Putnam devotes the bulk of this chapter to demonstrating social capital’s decline in the United States across the last quarter century. (See Putnam 1995 for a similar but more detailed argument.) While he acknowledges that the significance of a few countertrends is difficult to assess without further study, Putnam concludes that crucial factors such as social trust are eroding rapidly in the United States. He offers some possible explanations for this erosion and concludes by outlining the work needed to consider these possibilities more fully.
Abstract: A growing number of sociologists, political scientists, economists, and organizational theorists have invoked the concept of social capital in the search for answers to a broadening range of questions being confronted in their own fields. Seeking to clarify the concept and help assess its utility for organizational theory, we synthesize the theoretical research undertaken in these various disciplines and develop a common conceptual framework that identifies the sources, benefits, risks, and contingencies of social capital.
Abstract: This paper analyzes a newly assembled data set consisting of subjective indices of corruption, the amount of red tape, the efficiency of the judicial system, and various categories of political stability for a cross section of countries. Corruption is found to lower investment, thereby lowering economic growth. The results are robust to controlling for endogeneity by using an index of ethnolinguistic fractionalization as an instrument.
Abstract: We investigate empirically the determinants of the quality of governments in a large cross-section of countries. We assess government performance using measures of government intervention, public sector efficiency, public good provision, size of government, and political freedom. We find that countries that are poor, close to the equator, ethnolinguistically heterogeneous, use French or socialist laws, or have high proportions of Catholics or Muslims exhibit inferior government performance. We also find that the larger governments tend to be the better performing ones. The importance of (reasonably) exogenous historical factors in explaining the variation in government performance across countries sheds light on the economic, political, and cultural theories of institutions.
01 Jan 2016