The contribution of this paper to the social capital literature is threefold. It first develops an innovative framework for measuring social capital, which allows for quantification of five different components of the multidimensional concept of social capital. Secondly, it provides a single, synthetic measure capturing that particular configuration of social capital which the literature generally associates with positive economic outcomes. Thirdly, it maps Italian social capital endowments for the first time. A clear distinction emerges between bonding social capital, shaped by strong family ties, and bridging and linking social capital, shaped by weak ties among friends, neighbours and members in voluntary organizations. Areas characterized by high levels of bonding social capital, such as Southern Italy, suffer from a lack of the bridging and linking ties that characterize Northern Italy and are considered better suited to promoting economic growth and development.
Social capital, social networks, social norms, economic development, Italy
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