Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Social capital, growth and poverty: a survey of cross-country evidence

Knack, Stephen (2002): Social capital, growth and poverty: a survey of cross-country evidence. Published in: The Role of Social Capital in Development: An Empirical Assessment (2002): pp. 42-84.

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This chapter surveys the major contributions to the rapidly growing empirical literature on social capital and economic performance, focusing primarily on cross-country approaches. It first addresses characteristics of governments that fall under broad definitions of the term social capital. It then reviews studies of “civil,” or nongovernmental, social capital.

Most of this literature explores the determinants of growth in per capita income, devoting no attention to distributional effects. This chapter is a preliminary attempt to fill that gap by providing new cross-country evidence on the effects of social capital on poverty and the distribution of income.

This chapter is limited primarily to cross-country studies of social capital and economic performance. It does not attempt to comprehensively review regional-, village-, or individual-level analysis or the expanding literature on social capital’s impact on noneconomic outcomes, such as health, education, or crime. Nor does it examine the rapidly growing body of work that explores the determinants of social capital.

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