Re-evaluating the links between social trust, institutional trust and civic association
A multitude of studies into the links between trust and membership of associations have arisen in the decade since Putnam popularised the study of social capital in the early to mid 1990s (Brehm and Rahn, 1997; Claibourn and Martin, 2000; Paxton, 1999; Putnam, 2000). Interest has been stimulated by Putnam's observations of declining social capital in the United States, as measured by falling memberships in several large traditional voluntary organisations, and also declining rates of social trust in the US as measured by the General Social Survey and political participation, as measured in National Election Surveys (Putnam, 2000). These observations are important because of the host of positive social outcomes reported to be associated with trust and membership at both an individual and country level: GDP per capita (Knack and Keefer, 1997; La Porta, 1997; Putnam, 2000), reduced crime (Putnam, 000; Sampson et aI., 1997) and improved health (Kawachi et aI., 1999; Putnam, 2000).
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