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Freitag, M. (2006). Bowling the state back in: Political institutions and the creation of social capital. European Journal of Political Research 45(1), 123-152.

Abstract. While some studies have revealed that social capital is shaped within civil society, the role of political institutions in forming social capital has not yet been clearly shown. This article, therefore, tries to evaluate the politico-institutional foundations of social capital measured in terms of associational life in Switzerland. The purpose is to apply Putnam's method of comparing subsystems to the Swiss cantons. The empirical analyses show that government structures are strongly associated with social capital. More specifically, the availability of direct democracy promotes a lively associational life. In addition, consensus democracy and decentralized political structures contribute to social capital. In this vein, the access points of the politico-institutional structure constitute a feasible ‘top-down’ path to breaking out of the vicious circle of distrust, disengagement and weak democracy.reita


Freitag, Markus

Markus Freitag studied political science, economics, and German language and literature at Heidelberg University. After obtaining the degree of Magister Artium in 1995, he joined the University of Bern as a doctoral candidate and scientific assistant and completed his doctoral degree (PhD) in 1999...

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