Christoph Henning

Social Capital, Public Goods,or the Common Good?

Equality as a Hidden Agenda in Current Debates

In the recent literature, an increase in social capital is often associated with a broad range of benefits for society: better education and health, higher growth rates, an increase in social cohesion, happiness and wellbeing, and a reduction of crime rates.75 A higher social capital seems to strengthen public goods – as we will see, some authors even call social capital itself a public good. However, it remains an open question how one can extract these public goods from the rather “elusive” (Durlauf/Fafchamps 2004, 3) and value-neutral term ‘social capital’. Although social capital has been called a “missing link”,76 how it is ...

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