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The Impact of Welfare States on Social Trust Formation: A Multidimensional Approach

Tamilina, Larysa (2011): The Impact of Welfare States on Social Trust Formation: A Multidimensional Approach.

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Abstract

The main objective of this study is to test the “crowding out” hypothesis by applying a new approach based on the multidimensionality of social policies and the differences in their effects on social capital formation. The latter is considered plausible due to the fact that the research conducted so far has mostly focused on the careful measurement of social capital while welfare state policies were treated as a single indicator without taking into account the diversity of social programs as well as their characteristics and the differences in their impact on social values and networks. Focusing on the multidimensionality of social capital and the relevant ignorance of the multidimensionality of the state activity provides a reason to think that this narrow operationalization of the predictor can to some extent explain the controversy of the empirical results obtained so far and provide some ground for better theoretical elaboration on the association in question. Moreover, an approach of this kind may allow us to identify what policies lead to the decline of and what policies may enhance the social capital development. The latter would have a direct policy implication allowing for a design of a set of policies which, apart from ensuring individuals’ wellbeing, would also have a positive impact on the level of their social capital.

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