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SPP 324

Author: Richard Rose
Description: This article tests empirically the extent to which Russians today use social capital networks developed in Soviet times or before to produce welfare. The first section shows that in Soviet times social capital networks were widespread--but they were often "anti-modern" in character. Alternative hypotheses are set forth about the importance of viewing networks in a modern vs. anti-modern context; Putnam's "civic" approach to social capital, and dismissing all networks as irrelevant because of the overriding importance of an individual's human capital. The hypotheses are tested with a specially designed 1998 New Russia Barometer survey of all types of social capital. Some social capital networks do help Russians get food and provide income security, but conventional human capital measures, such as education and socio-economic status, are also significant. Insofar as Russians continue to use social capital networks inconsistent with a modern society to cope with problems of transition to a modern society, this maintains a low-level equilibrium trap that hinders the progress of Russian society toward a modern market economy and a modern democratic state.

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CSPP School of Government & Public Policy U. of Strathclyde Glasgow G1 1XQ Scotland