Andrea Geraci, Mattia Nardotto, Tommaso Reggiani, Fabio Sabatini, 12 February 2022

Social capital, including networks and relationships, civic engagement, and trust, is central to a well-functioning society. This column examines the relationship between social capital and internet access in the UK. The findings show that following broadband take-up, civic and political engagement systematically declines with increasing speed of Internet connection. Time-consuming activities oriented to the pursuit of collective welfare, such as engagement in associations, suffer the most from broadband penetration, while relationships with family and friends are less affected.  

Ruben Durante, Luigi Guiso, Giorgio Gulino, 16 April 2020

Social distancing slows the spread of COVID-19. In regions that adopt social distancing practices early (i.e. before receiving explicit stay-at-home guidelines from their governments), the virus can be contained more quickly. Using Italian data from phone location tracking of movements made by individuals after the pandemic began, this column finds sharper drops in mobility in areas with higher ‘civic capital’, suggesting that civic values can mediate the social distancing process.

Sascha Bützer, Christina Jordan, Livio Stracca, 23 November 2013

Since the advent of the Eurozone sovereign-debt crisis, economic commentators have drawn attention to macroeconomic imbalances within the Eurozone. This column presents evidence on the link between macroeconomic imbalances and differences in culture – or more specifically, interpersonal trust. A conservative estimatation suggests that a one standard-deviation increase in trust reduces macroeconomic imbalances by about a quarter of a standard deviation. Moreover, differences in interpersonal trust can explain a fifth of the variation in intra-Eurozone imbalances.

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