chapter  8
22 Pages

Mapping the landscape of social capital: the need for a two-level approach

Economists are increasingly interested in the concept of social capital. In addition to some other developments in economics, Putnam’s (1993) Making Democracy Work has triggered the interest of economists in more culturally based factors that influence economic growth. Also, Fukuyama’s (1995) study on Trust has contributed to the inclusion of social capital in economics. Work by Putnam and Fukuyama, for example, has led Jonathan Temple to conclude that ‘some of the most interesting thinking on economic growth is to be found on the borders of political science and sociology’ (Temple 1999: 146). Although the way economists use a traditionally sociological concept like social capital can be criticized (Fine 2001), it is probably the most successfully introduced ‘new’ term in economics in the last decade.