How Welfare Regimes Generate and Erode Social Capital : The Impact of Underclass Phenomena
Publication: Research - peer-review › Journal article
Comparative studies of social capital, operationalised as social trust between citizens, have revealed two major puzzles. The first puzzle has to do with the decline in social trust in the USA, which fuelled considerable debate about social capital. The question is why social capital erodes in the USA and other liberal welfare regimes, while social capital is stable in the so-called social democratic and conservative welfare regimes. The second puzzle is why the group of social democratic regimes have extremely high levels of social trust. It is argued that both puzzles have to do with the presence or absence of a poor and culturally distinct underclass. The social democratic welfare regimes hinder – while the liberal welfare regime generate – such underclass phenomena.