51st Congress of the European Regional Science Association: "New Challenges for European Regions and Urban Areas in a Globalised World", 30 August - 3 September 2011, Barcelona, Spain
Economic theory has proposed and discussed a lot of possible factors or explanations that promote or foster economic development. One of these gathers specific discussions from other Social Sciences, incorporating social, cultural, religious, institutional and political dimensions - and among them, the idea of 'social capital'. Although the discussion held by Putnam on the benefits of association, civic involvement and interpersonal trust is extremely rich, this paper incorporates the discussion advocated by the World Bank, and the central ideas of Woolcock and Narayan papers, since they extend the scope of analysis, making what is called 'synergic vision' of social capital. These authors consider that 'social capital does not exist in a political vacuum', ie there is no way to separate the elements that characterize the social and the political and institutional elements that surround it. The ‘community social capital' of Putnam cannot be understood without the macro-environment in which it operates. Then this paper aims to explain the economic behavior in Latin America, considering the importance of the attributes directly related to social capital (interpersonal trust, which leads to the association and the civic involvement) pari passu governance, ie the formal attributes related to the action of the state, which establishes social, political and economic behavior. It wants to explain if these two dimensions are correlated in order to explain the behavior of agents in different economies in Latin America and their economic development.