The purpose of this paper is to reflect, from an economist`s point of view, on the methodological issues raised by the study of social capital. This term has been used in many different ways to cover a broad range of phenomena (Durlauf & Fafchamps 2002). Perhaps it is best seen as a way of federating research programs in various social sciences, If so, the quest for an all-encompasing definition may be futile or even counter-productive, because different disciplines need to appropriate the term differently depending on how it fits in their paradigm. What is important is that the phrase social capital facilitates the exchange of ideas across disciplines.
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