By Bo Rothstein
Bo Rothstein explores how social capital and social belief are generated and what governments can do approximately it. He argues that it's the life of common and neutral political associations including public rules which counterpoint social and monetary equality that creates social capital.
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Additional resources for Social traps and the problem of trust
The principle of “objective” rationality, unless accompanied by extensive empirical research to identify the correct auxiliary assumptions, has little power to make valid predictions about political phenomena. Rather, an explanation that takes the role of individual behavior seriously requires a focus on subjective rationality. One can conceive of human action that is inherently non-purposeful. However, for the purposes of the empirical analysis of political behavior, non-purposeful (“futile”) action can be disregarded as not playing a significant role (rituals have a purpose, as praying and small-talk illustrate).
Bardhan 1997: 1331). 5 But when can the game begin? The theoretical presumption in this study is that people’s actions are governed by what they believe their counterparts are going to do in response to their own actions. In many respects, this idea turns upside down much of how social scientists usually go about explaining how human actions should be explained, a lot of which has been based on viewing human beings as determined by structural conditions. If you simply gather enough information about an individual’s previous circumstances (occupation, income, sex, education, ethnicity, place of residence), you can predict her actions.
However, since the 1970s, instrumental (or logical) empiricism has been criticized on many grounds within the philosophy of science. From the approach known as “scientific realism,” it has been pointed out that one major problem with this “as-if” approach in logical empiricism is that it it lacks an interest in specifying the actual causal mechanisms that drive behavior. The intention here is not to make an argument in this metatheoretical debate. Instead, I want to point out that this “as-if” approach in logical empiricism has serious effects for comparative politics in its efforts to explain variation among countries.
Social traps and the problem of trust by Bo Rothstein