Social Capital, Impartiality and the Welfare State: An Institutional Approach

  • Bo Rothstein
  • Dietlind Stolle


This chapter sheds more light on the sources of one important aspect of social capital, namely generalized trust. Most discussions about the sources of social capital thus far have been focused on the realm of civil society. The more people are engaged in voluntary associations and informal networks, the more trusting toward other people they will become (Putnam 1993, 2000). This approach is problematic because there is no successful theory of social capital that links aspects of civic life and trust at the micro- and macrolevels. Previous chapters have shown that, at the microlevel, voluntary associations do not necessarily work as producers of civic values and attitudes, such as generalized trust (e.g., Mayer, Wollebæk and Selle this volume; see also Stolle 2001; Uslaner 2002). In addition, it is difficult to distinguish between networks that produce distrust toward others, for example criminal or racist organizations, and networks that potentially produce trust, such as Parent-Teacher Associations or the Boy Scouts (however, Hooghe tries to make this distinction in this volume).


Social Capital Welfare State Causal Mechanism Political Institution Welfare System 
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© Marc Hooghe and Dietlind Stolle 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bo Rothstein
  • Dietlind Stolle

There are no affiliations available

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