Baumann, Steffen and Schneider, Gerald. (1999) “Bringing Putnam to the European Regions: On the (Ir)Relevance of Social Capital for Economic Growth”. In: UNSPECIFIED, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Unpublished)
One of the most influential contributions to the study of political culture of the 1990s is Robert D. Putnam’s book on the positive impact that interpersonal trust supposedly has on economic welfare and the effectiveness of political institutions in Italy. We evaluate this hypothesis in a wider sample of regions by analyzing quantitatively the role that political culture has on economic growth in the regions of the European Union. We first develop a neoclassical growth model and incorporate political culture variables into this framework. Our cross-sectional regression results cast strong doubts on the generalisability of Putnam’s bold claims. The analysis particularly shows that economic rather than cultural factors are the driving forces in the European regions.
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