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Christoforou, A. (2010). Social capital and human development: an empirical investigation across European countries. Journal of Institutional Economics 6 (2), 191-214.

In this paper, we offer an empirical investigation of the relationship between social capital and human development across European countries for the post-war period. We argue that social organizations contribute directly to broader welfare aspects of development as part of the third sector of the economy, which undertakes the provision of public goods, such as health and education, in synergy with state institutions. This is counter to views that associate social organizations with anti-growth rent-seeking and lobbying activities. We begin with a multivariate regression analysis, which reveals that membership in social organizations is positively associated with human development, along with state institutions of public expenditure and the quality of governance. We then conduct a case study analysis to explore further the historical and cultural contextual factors of European welfare systems that determine the capacity of third sector organizations to enhance generalized co-operation, synergistic relations and social welfare against particularist interests.


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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