Abstract for: The Impact of State’s Legal and Organizational Framework on Social Capital Development

The scientific community unanimously recognizes the critical effect of social capital on economic development. In fact, social capital benefits society as a whole in terms of lower transaction costs, fewer opportunistic behavior and speed of information among institutions, thus representing a key factor of the global competitiveness of a Country. At a macro level of analysis social capital arises by most formalized institutional relationships, structures and public policies constituting the State organizational and legal framework. In fact, good public management, services and transparency foster in individuals their social commitment, honesty, and a solid trust towards public institutions, all proxies of social capital. Oppositely, a bad public administration depletes social capital. So far the literature has been more successful at documenting the beneficial impact of social capital than at deriving policy prescriptions and providing guidelines about how to invest in it. The present research, tailored on the Italian State, represents a first attempt to evaluate ex ante public policies in terms of social capital development. System dynamics models, allowing to include such information in policy design, may effectively lead policy makers to select policy alternatives producing the best result in terms of social capital growth.