Building and destroying social capital: The case of cooperative movements in Denmark and Poland

Gunnar Lind Haase Svendsen, Jarka Chloupkova, Gert Tinggaard Svendsen

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Social capital, measured as the level of trustamong people, may be regarded as a newproduction factor alongside the traditionalones of human and physical capital. Withappropriate levels of social capital,monitoring and transaction costs can be savedand thus economic growth stimulated. Vialinking social capital to rural development andcomparing the cases of agricultural cooperativemovements in Denmark and Poland, this paperidentifies possible roots of building socialcapital and suggests that social capital wasbuilt through a lengthy process in bothcountries during the 19th century. However,the comparison of the present level of socialcapital indicates that the level of socialcapital is significantly higher in Denmark thanin Poland. The paper concludes that the reasonfor this difference is the fact that theoriginal accumulation of social capital inPoland was destroyed by the communist regime.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAgriculture and Human Values
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)241-252
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2003


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