Welfare states and dimensions of social capital

Cross-national comparisons of social contacts in European countries

P. Scheepers, M. Ten Grotenhuis, John Gelissen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

We set out to describe and explain differences in the amount of some dimensions of social capital within and between European societies. Social capital refers to a wide range of social phenomena; however, we focus on social contacts with family and friends. We derive hypotheses about cross-national differences in social capital from theories on the nature of welfare state regimes. We test these hypotheses with multi-level analyses on Eurobarometer data, collected in thirteen countries. We find significant variance across different countries. This variance is partly explained by individual characteristics: religious people and people living in medium-sized or rural towns have more social contacts. Moreover, we find quite differential effects of other individual characteristics on social contacts and no effects of political stances. Differences in the cross-national compositions in educational attainment and household size also account for the variance in social contacts. Finally, people living in social-democratic regimes turn out to have the smallest amount of social contacts, whereas people living in the Latin Rim have the largest amount. In between, we find people living in liberal, respectively, conservative-corporatist regimes. This explanation is opposed to the hypothesis that it is the difference in social security rates that causes differences in social capital.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)185-207
JournalEuropean Societies
Volume4
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2002

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social relations
social capital
welfare state
educational attainment
social security
regime
Eurobarometer
household size
town
comparison
cause
society
effect

Cite this

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title = "Welfare states and dimensions of social capital: Cross-national comparisons of social contacts in European countries",
abstract = "We set out to describe and explain differences in the amount of some dimensions of social capital within and between European societies. Social capital refers to a wide range of social phenomena; however, we focus on social contacts with family and friends. We derive hypotheses about cross-national differences in social capital from theories on the nature of welfare state regimes. We test these hypotheses with multi-level analyses on Eurobarometer data, collected in thirteen countries. We find significant variance across different countries. This variance is partly explained by individual characteristics: religious people and people living in medium-sized or rural towns have more social contacts. Moreover, we find quite differential effects of other individual characteristics on social contacts and no effects of political stances. Differences in the cross-national compositions in educational attainment and household size also account for the variance in social contacts. Finally, people living in social-democratic regimes turn out to have the smallest amount of social contacts, whereas people living in the Latin Rim have the largest amount. In between, we find people living in liberal, respectively, conservative-corporatist regimes. This explanation is opposed to the hypothesis that it is the difference in social security rates that causes differences in social capital.",
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Welfare states and dimensions of social capital : Cross-national comparisons of social contacts in European countries. / Scheepers, P.; Ten Grotenhuis, M.; Gelissen, John.

In: European Societies, Vol. 4, No. 2, 2002, p. 185-207.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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