A Matter of Size and Generosity: Assessing the Complex Relation between the Welfare State and Social Capital
Paris : Laboratory for Interdisciplinary Evaluation of Public Policies
LIEPP Working Paper : 43
Using confirmatory factor analysis and several regression models, this paper assesses the relation between different welfare state configurations and social capital in 19 European countries over two decades. The results suggest that welfare state configurations characterized by high degrees of decommodification and restrained levels of social spending are associated with higher social capital scores. Moreover, the positive relation between decommodification and social capital is stronger than the negative association observed with social spending. At the theoretical level, on the one hand, the findings seem to partially confirm the concern of neoclassical and communitarian theorists for the negative correlation between large size welfare states and social capital. On the other hand, they support the contention of institutional theorists that there is a strong positive association between high degrees of welfare state generosity and social capital.