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8. The Distribution of Social Capital across Europe

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Chapter Summary

This chapter describes the cross-national distribution of social capital in Europe. Putnam argued that although social capital is a multidimensional construct, the dimensions form a coherent syndrome. In his opinion, the causal arrows between these dimensions are 'as tangled as well-tossed spaghetti' and the dimensions affect each other often in virtuous or vicious circles. Van Oorschot, using data of the third wave of the European value study (EVS), constructed a measurement model consisting of Putnam's three dimensions of social capital (networks, trust and norms) with several aspects per dimension. Second-order confirmatory factor analysis resulted in a well-fitting model. It reproduces a close proxy of this earlier model using 2008-2010 EVS data. The chapter formulates hypotheses about the determinants of social capital at both the national-context level and at the individual level. It tests these hypotheses using multilevel models for as many European countries as possible.

Keywords: European value study (EVS); Putnam; social capital; Van Oorschot



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