Graduate School for Social Research, Polish Academy of Sciences
This paper presents empirical evidence suggestive of the existence of a mutually reinforcing relationship between social capital and trust. Using cross-sectional data from the Polish General Social Survey 2002, as well as longitudinal data from the Social Diagnosis 2000-2007, it was shown that individuals re-create their patterns of social ties through their norms of trust. People who formed ties solely with their kin were convinced that they can trust only a few people in the world while those with both kin and non-kin members in their social networks were more inclined to believe in the benign nature of humanity. These results, derived from cross-sectional data, are confirmed by the panel dataset which we use also for proving the converse hypothesis: people with higher levels of trust are more likely to form social ties with the non-kin. These findings are especially pertinent to Poland, a post-communist country seeking to build a civil society – social networks based on kin members combined with low levels of general social trust can be a major obstacle in developing a civil society here.
Keywords: bridging social capital, bonding social capital, social trust, post-communist countries, longitudinal data
Cite this article as:
Growiec, K. (2009). The relation between social capital and social trust - a self-fulfilling prophecy?. Psychologia Społeczna, 10, 55–66.