Social capital and economic development: Toward a theoretical synthesis and policy framework

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Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers


This article explores the need to "encourage" the development of social capital in addition to financial and human capital in development work. Woolcock offers a theoretical discussion of the definition and problems of social capital, the history and origin of the term, and a critique of how social capital has been used in development work from the perspectives of social networks and economic development. Notably, the article also addresses how social capital may even hinder development. This outline and critique is targeted towards forming a new way forward for the integration of social capital initiatives in development.


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Economic policy, Social capital, Theory, Economic development, Governance


Theory and Society 27(2): 151-208