See his "The Impact of Culture on Economic Development: Theory, Hypotheses, and Some Empirical Tests" (unpublished manuscript, University of Michigan, 1994). Researchers in such fields as education, urban poverty, unemployment, the control of crime and drug abuse, and even health have discovered that successful outcomes are more likely in civically engaged communities. Other demographic transformations. Moreover, a balanced accounting of the social-capital books would need to reconcile the insights of this approach with the undoubted insights offered by Mancur Olson and others who stress that closely knit social, economic, and political organizations are prone to inefficient cartelization and to what political economists term "rent seeking" and ordinary men and women call corruption. 2. The last refuge of a social-scientific scoundrel is to call for more research. Putnam, R. D. (1995). What types of organizations and networks most effectively embody--or generate--social capital, in the sense of mutual reciprocity, the resolution of dilemmas of collective action, and the broadening of social identities? [End Page 75]. When Tocqueville visited the United States in the 1830s, it was the Americans' propensity for civic association that most impressed him as the key to their unprecedented ability to make democracy work. Robert Wuthnow reports that fully 40 percent of all Americans claim to be "currently involved in [a] small group that meets regularly and provides support or caring for those who participate in it." In sum, after expanding steadily throughout most of this century, many major civic organizations have experienced a sudden, substantial, and nearly simultaneous decline in membership over the last decade or two. He is now completing a study of the revitalization of American democracy. In the newer democracies this phrase has properly focused attention on the need to foster a vibrant civic life in soils traditionally inhospitable to self-government. This same historical pattern applies to those men's fraternal organizations for which comparable data are available--steady increases for the first seven decades of the century, interrupted only by the Great Depression, followed by a collapse in the 1970s and 1980s that has already wiped out most of the postwar expansion and continues apace. In the established democracies, ironically, growing numbers of citizens are questioning the effectiveness of their public institutions at the very moment when liberal democracy has swept the battlefield, both ideologically and geopolitically. The norms and networks of civic engagement also powerfully affect the performance of representative government. James S. Coleman deserves primary credit for developing the "social capital" theoretical framework. 6, no. There are not only commercial and industrial associations in which all take part, but others of a thousand different types--religious, moral, serious, futile, very general and very limited, immensely large and very minute. The theory of social capital argues that associational membership should, for example, increase social trust, but this prediction is much less straightforward with regard to membership in tertiary associations. 7. Our discussion of trends in social connectedness and civic engagement has tacitly assumed that all the forms of social capital that we have discussed are themselves coherently correlated across individuals. This so-called third sector includes everything from Oxfam and the Metropolitan Museum of Art to the Ford Foundation and the Mayo Clinic. See also Salamon, "Partners in Public Service: The Scope and Theory of Government-Nonprofit Relations," in Walter W. Powell, ed., The Nonprofit Sector: A Research Handbook (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1987), 99-117. From the point of view of social connectedness, however, they are sufficiently different from classic "secondary associations" that we need to invent a new label--perhaps "tertiary associations." These new mass-membership organizations are plainly of great political importance. . Every year over the last decade or two, millions more have withdrawn from the affairs of their communities. Bowling Alone: America's Declining Social Capital by Robert D. Putnam When Alexis de Tocqueville visited the United States in the 1830s, it was the Americans' propensity for civic association that most impressed him as the key to their unprecedented ability to make democracy work. For the vast majority of their members, the only act of membership consists in writing a check for dues or perhaps occasionally reading a newsletter. Putnam, R. D. (1995b). Finally, dense networks of interaction probably broaden the participants' sense of self, developing the "I" into the "we," or (in the language of rational-choice theorists) enhancing the participants' "taste" for collective benefits. The recent deterioration in American social capital has been sufficiently great that (if no other country changed its position in the meantime) another quarter-century of change at the same rate would bring the United States, roughly speaking, to the midpoint among all these countries, roughly equivalent to South Korea, Belgium, or Estonia today. Numerous studies of organizational involvement have shown that residential stability and such related phenomena as homeownership are clearly associated with greater [End Page 74] civic engagement. Journal of Democracy, 6, 65-78. Religious affiliation is by far the most common associational [End Page 68] membership among Americans. Some able researchers have argued that the last few decades have witnessed a rapid expansion in "support groups" of various sorts. Church-related groups constitute the most common type of organization joined by Americans; they are especially popular with women. Yet union membership has been falling for nearly four decades, with the steepest decline occurring between 1975 and 1985. 5. Not coincidentally, Americans have also disengaged psychologically from politics and government over this era. Tuning in, tuning out: The strange disappearance of social capital in America. 2 Even in less exotic Western economies, however, researchers have discovered highly efficient, highly flexible "industrial districts" based on networks of collaboration among workers and small entrepreneurs. << /Length 5 0 R /Filter /FlateDecode >> In America, at least, there is reason to suspect that this democratic disarray may be linked to a broad and continuing erosion of civic engagement that began a quarter-century ago. 6. But what about the possibility that volunteers have simply switched their loyalties [End Page 69] to other organizations? I'm not asking for a full answer just a brief explanation of the overall idea. Google Scholar | Crossref. A second aspect of informal social capital on which we happen to have reasonably reliable time-series data involves neighborliness. Robert D. Putnam, Making Democracy Work: Civic Traditions in Modern Italy (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993). 8 Many of these groups are religiously affiliated, but [End Page 71] many others are not. Putnam RD. This is for an assignmnet. Meanwhile, data from the General Social Survey show a modest decline in membership in all "church-related groups" over the last 20 years. In Robert D. Putnam's research analysis "Bowling Alone: America's Declining Capital", Putnam argues as to why there is a decline in social capitalism throughout the United States. American slum-clearance policy of the 1950s and 1960s, for example, renovated physical capital. It seems highly plausible that this social revolution should have reduced the time and energy available for building social capital. 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