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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Does Social Capital Lead to Support for Democracy in East Asia?


This paper considers the origins and conceptualizations of social capital, particularly the effects of interpersonal trust and participation in voluntarily associations on support for democracy. In so doing, the study introduces a “two-step process” proposition, suggesting that while a causal relationship exists between social capital and democratic support, this link is mediated by intervening variables in the form of knowledge and skills resulting from trust and participation. Empirical tests are conducted on survey data from seven countries covered by the East Asian Barometer to examine the validity of this hypothesis.

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