Social capital in contemporary Europe: evidence from the European Social Survey | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 5, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 1476-413X
  • E-ISSN: 1758-9509


Social capital is an increasingly popular concept among scientists, politicians and the media. It is regarded as a remedy for many of the failures of modern society and seen as wonder glue conducive to feelings of happiness and to better performing economies and democracies. In this article we are not so much concerned with the consequences of social capital for society, but we focus on why some people have higher levels of social capital than others. We argue that this is not only due to a number of personal characteristics but also to contextual or country features. We therefore formulate hypotheses about the effects of individual and macro or country characteristics that were tested using the survey data from the European Social Survey (2002). The results demonstrate that the impact of macro characteristics is rather modest compared to the effects of individual attributes. It also seems that social capital is a multifaceted phenomenon that cannot be captured by one single measure.


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  • Article Type: Article
Keyword(s): individualization; social capital; social cohesion; social networks; trust
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