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The Economic Implications of Social Cohesion

The Economic Implications of Social Cohesion

  • Book Info
    The Economic Implications of Social Cohesion
    Book Description:

    Essays examine the impact of social networks and collective action on growth and other economic outcomes, contributing to understanding of the interaction between economic processes and their social framework.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-8114-9
    Subjects: Economics

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-2)
  3. Introduction
    (pp. 3-18)

    In day-to-day life, most people are well aware of the advantages of cooperation. Soccer teams that pass well will almost always dominate their opponents, if the other team are all individualistic glory hounds who hog the ball to maximize their personal goal scoring. Families that can agree on what to do on holiday trips have a better time if some members do not sulk all the way to their destination. Firms where workers and managers cooperate tend to be more productive and profitable than those mired in conflict. In the practical reality of everyday living, there are abundant illustrations of...

  4. Do Borders Matter for Social Capital? Economic Growth and Civic Culture in U.S. States and Canadian Provinces
    (pp. 19-42)

    This chapter extends to North America the analysis of Helliwell and Putnam in their 1995 study linking regional growth and social capital in Italy. In the United States and Canada, there are also strikingly large and long-lasting regional differences in trust and other measures of social capital, and these have, as in Italy (Putnam 1993), roots far in the past. This is more surprising for the United States and Canada, where migration has been much larger and more varied than in Italy. U.S. census and survey evidence suggests that immigrants and internal migrants tend to bring trust or mistrust with...

  5. Social Capital, Social Cohesion, Community: A Microeconomic Analysis
    (pp. 43-78)

    There is a growing concern with the role of trust, social capital, and community, in part because there is so much variation in the indicators of these aspects of societies. In some countries, most people claim to trust each other, while elsewhere most say they do not. The proportion of respondents in a recent survey who agree with the statement that ‘most people can be trusted’ ranges from 6.7 per cent in Brazil to 61.2 per cent in Norway. People are more likely to join voluntary associations, be they political parties, sports, cultural, or religious organizations, in some societies than...

  6. Social Cohesion and the Well-being of Canadian Children
    (pp. 79-120)

    This chapter explores some potential links between social cohesion and children’s well-being in two main stages: (1) a conceptual discussion of how social cohesion might affect the well-being of children and (2) two illustrative empirical tests of the hypothesis that higher levels of social cohesion generate higher levels of well-being for children. First, the argument is made for a child-centred approach to understanding the well-being of children, and some existing economic definitions of well-being are evaluated in terms of their suitability for children. Discussion of a child-centred approach to social cohesion follows. Then, some economic models are surveyed of the...

  7. Social Cohesion and Health
    (pp. 121-149)

    Until recently, the topic of social cohesion and the topic of health were rarely mentioned together. Now, the two constructs seem inseparable, with social cohesion typically posited to be a cause and health an effect. More social cohesion has been posited to lead to ‘more’ health; less social cohesion has been posited to lead to ‘less’ health. But whether this is actually true, and if so, what explains this relationship can be difficult to discern. It may be that health is the cause. Or, it may be that social cohesion and health are being influenced by a third factor. A...

  8. Social Cohesion and Voluntary Activity: Making Connections
    (pp. 150-182)

    According to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, ‘A strong social fabric provides a secure basis for the flexibility and risk-taking which are the life-blood of vibrant economic activity and wealth creation’ (OECD 1997: 7). Voluntary activity forms part of this social fabric. As Dick Stanley argues, social cohesiveness ‘manifests itself in the existence of voluntary relationships.’² Voluntary action is thought to have both internal effects on members, teaching them to be more cooperative, and external effects on the wider polity, fostering social cooperation (Jenson 1999: 11).

    If this is true, then structural adjustment policies may create a double...

  9. Communities and Economic Prosperity: Exploring the Links
    (pp. 183-212)

    Questions of economic policy are often framed in a way that market efficiency and social equity are seen as contradictory goals. Recently, however, a more nuanced understanding of the relationship between social goals and economic efficiency has begun to evolve, as social scientists from a variety of disciplines have turned their attention to the important role that social relationships may play in fostering economic prosperity.

    Social interactions that do not have an explicit economic purpose may affect economic productivity in a variety of ways. In this chapter, I will focus on social interactions that take place in a community. By...

  10. Social Cohesion and Macroeconomic Performance
    (pp. 213-230)

    There is increasing recognition that there is something called ‘social capital,’ ‘social cohesion,’ or ‘social capability,’ which affects the performance of nations. Some stress the importance of a ‘social compact’ or ‘social contracts’ among major groups – business, labour, government, and citizens (Reich 1998). Others see an explanation in the existence of strong interpersonal linkages through families, associations, and trust-building institutions (Putnam 1993).

    John Harriss and Paolo de Renzio (1997: 932) have constructed the following typology for social capital:

    Family and kinship connections

    Wider social networks, or ‘associational life’ – networks of civic engagement

    Cross-sectional linkages or contacts spanning differences...

  11. Many Happy Returns: How Social Cohesion Attracts Investment
    (pp. 231-246)

    Traditional economics teaches that profit-maximizing firms invest when the expected present value of returns from an investment exceeds the expected present value of costs. However, in doing this, firms must take into account a series of more or less intangible factors that can affect expectations. The costs of doing business depend on issues such as the extent to which workers and partners can be trusted to respect contracts and laws, and hold up their ends of explicit and tacit bargains, the crime rate and costs of security, the degree of social dysfunction in society and the likelihood of it affecting...

  12. Notes on Contributors
    (pp. 247-250)
  13. Back Matter
    (pp. 251-251)