Social Capital in Asia: Its Dual Nature and Function

Peter Ping Li, Gordon Redding

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    This article provides an overview of social capital in Asia. Social capital is trust and appears in two main forms: relational, based on societal norms, and systemic, based on societal institutions. The relational encourages personalistic transactions; and systemic trust, supports more formal, and usually larger, transactions backed by law. For economic development, the systemic form becomes crucial but needs to be compatible with relational norms. The dimensions of social capital are often dual in nature. This article employs a theory that accepts this and analyses the phenomena as yin–yang balancing, seeing trust as a culturally determined enabler of social cooperation. The evolutions of trustworthiness in Japan, China, and the Philippines are analysed. This article contributes to the literature on varieties of capitalism and business systems as well as that on social capital. It raises the question of the middle-income trap and development more generally.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Asian Business Systems
    EditorsMichael A. Witt, Gordon Redding
    Place of PublicationOxford
    PublisherOxford University Press
    Publication date2014
    ISBN (Print)9780199654925
    Publication statusPublished - 2014
    SeriesOxford Handbooks in Business and Management

    Bibliographical note

    Published online: December 2013

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