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SPP 356

Author: Richard Rose and Craig Weller
Description: To what extent, if any, does social capital increase support for democratic values of citizens? Is it the primary influence, one among several major influences, or of only minor importance in forming political attitudes. This paper provides an empirical answer to this question, drawing on a specially designed social capital questionnaire field as the 1998 New Russia Barometer. The questionnaire collected multiple measures of involvement in social capital networks in different situations, and included "anti-modern" as well as market and informal strategies for using social capital to get things done. The dependent variables are support for democracy as an ideal and its complement, rejection of undemocratic alternatives. Multiple regression analysis shows that civic attitudes independent of social capital are of most important, and economic influences and human capital are also important. Social capital has very little influence on support for democracy as an ideal, and is of only secondary importance as an influence on rejecting undemocratic alternative. The conclusion argues that the Russian research design is generalizable across the developing world, and generalizable across OECD countries too, because it measures social capital instrumentally.

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