Social capital in the 21st century

“A new paper* by Bodo Steiner and Cong Wang, two economists at the University of Southern Denmark, reach the conclusion that less linguistically diverse countries tend to prosper (rather than the other way round). Messrs Steiner and Wang set out to find the relationship between linguistic fragmentation and social capital. Social capital itself can be hard to define, but a few scholars have nonetheless put a number on it. Three scholars led by Dan Lee of Sungkyunkwan University in South Korea created an index** of 72 countries across criteria like trust (a feeling of societal fairness, confidence institutions like government, political parties and the press); norms (corruption, the rule of law, the prevalence of tax evasion and benefit fraud); and networks (for example how likely people are to join religious groups, arts and sports clubs and the like). Countries with high levels of social capital tend to be richer.”


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