France and the United States: A comparative analysis of social capital on both sides of the pond

Patrick Merle, Weiwu Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Putnam's lament on the decline of civic engagement has generated extensive literature on social capital. However, cross-national research remains deficient. In an effort to fill the gap, this research thus concentrates on a comparative assessment of social capital in the United States and France. On the basis of secondary analyses of Howard, Gibson and Stolle's 'US Citizenship, Involvement and Democracy' survey of 1001 respondents in the United States and the 2002 European Social Survey of 1503 respondents in France, this article measured the impact of media use and political variables on levels of trust, citizen norms, associational involvement and political participation. Findings suggested that for both countries interpersonal political discussion, external efficacy and interest were positive predictors for several dimensions of social capital.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)369-389
Number of pages21
JournalFrench Politics
Volume10
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2012

Keywords

  • comparative research
  • political participation
  • secondary analysis
  • social capital
  • trust

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