Institutional Approach to Social Capital Theory

Woolcock and Narayan (2000)[1] identified that proponents of the institutional view argue that the vitality of community networks and civil society is largely the product of the political, legal and institutional environment.’ The approach views social capital as a dependent variable where as the communitarian and networks perspectives largely treat social capital as an independent variable giving rise to various outcomes (Woolcock and Narayan 2000)[1] . Authors include Knack and Keefer (1995, 1997); Collier and Gunning (1999)[2] ; Collier (1998[3] , 2002[4] ); Rodrik (1998[5] , 1999[6] ) and Easterly (2000)[7] . Woolcock and Narayan (2000, p. 235) identified that the very strength of the institutional view in addressing macroeconomic policy concerns, however, is also a weakness in that it lacks a microeconomic component.


  1. Woolcock, Michael, and Deepa Narayan. 2000. “Social capital:  Implications for development theory, research, and policy.” The World Bank Research Observer 15: 225-249. ^
  2. Collier, Paul, and Jan Willem Gunning. 1999. ‘Explaining African economic performance.’ Journal of Economic Literature 37: 64-111. ^
  3. Collier, Paul. 1998. ‘Social Capital and Poverty.’ World Bank. ^
  4. Collier, Paul. 2002. ‘Social capital and poverty: a microeconomic perspective.’ Pp. 19 – 41 in The Role of Social Capital in Development, edited by Thierry Van Bastelaer. Melbourne: Cambridge University Press. ^
  5. Rodrik, Dani. 1998. “Where did all the growth go? External shocks, social conflict and growth collapses.” Cambridge: National Bureau of Economic Research. ^
  6. Rodrik, Dani. 1999. Making openness work. Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press. ^
  7. Easterly, William. 2000. ‘Happy societies: the middle class consensus and economic development.’ Washington, D.C.: World Bank, Development Research Group. ^

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