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The State and Social Capital: An Institutional Theory of Generalized Trust

Bo Rothstein and Dietlind Stolle
Comparative Politics
Vol. 40, No. 4 (Jul., 2008), pp. 441-459
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20434095
Page Count: 19
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
The State and Social Capital: An Institutional Theory of Generalized Trust
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Abstract

In the discussion of the sources of social capital, it has been stressed that generalized trust is built up by the citizens themselves through a culture that permeates the networks and organizations of civil society. This approach has run into conceptual problems, and empirical evidence has provided only mixed support. An alternate approach is to highlight how social capital is embedded in and linked to formal political and legal institutions. Not all political institutions matter equally, however. Trust thrives most in societies with effective, impartial, and fair street-level bureaucracies. The causal mechanism between these institutional characteristics and generalized trust is illustrated in a cross-national context.

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