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Fidrmuc, J., Gërxhani, K. (2008). Mind the Gap! Social Capital, East and West. Journal of Comparative Economics 36, 264-286.

Social capital in Central and Eastern Europe lags behind that in Western European countries. We analyze the determinants of individual stock of social capital– measured by civic participation and access to social networks – and find that this gap persists when we account for individual characteristics and endowments of respondents. However, the gap disappears completely after we include aggregate measures of economic development and quality of institutions. Informal institutions such as the prevalence of corruption in post-communist countries appear particularly important. With the enlargement of the European Union, the gap in social capital should gradually disappear as the new member states catch up (economically and institutionally) with the old ones.


Fidrmuc, Jan

Jan Fidrmuc is Senior Lecturer in Economics, Department of Economics and Finance, School of Social Sciences and Centre for Economic Development and Institutions (CEDI), Brunel University, London, UK. He obtained his PhD from the CentER for Economic Research, Tilburg University with a dissertation...

Gerxhani, Klarita

Klarita Gërxhani is Associate Professor at the University of Amsterdam, Department of Sociology and Anthropology. She graduated as an M.A. in Marketing at the Faculty of Economics, University of Tirana, Albania in 1996. After graduation, she worked as a researcher and research coordinator...

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