La Questione Meridionale. Social capital as a tool to understand the development disparity between the North and the South of Italy

University essay from Blekinge Tekniska Högskola/DSN

Abstract: Since Italian unification, Southern Italy has lagged behind with respect to the North and for this reason it has been subsidized for a long time, by the Italian government before and the EU later. The fact that despite a huge amount of subsidies the South has not been able to reduce the development gap with the North has urged scholars to focus their attention on the capability of the society to improve its own situation which means to take into consideration sociological aspects with respect to economic development. The concept of social capital that refers to the types of relations between individuals, could represent one explanatory factor of the Southern backward situation. The purpose of this study is to understand the relationships between social capital and socio-economic disparities among the Northern and Southern regions of Italy. Firstly, a historical description of the Southern situational is described to point out the long duration of the issue. Secondly a recent economic description of the chosen regions has been made to show the still significant socio-economic disparities between the North and the South. Thirdly a literature review about the concept of social capital has been made in order to personally define the concept and choose useful indicators for the purpose of the thesis. Finally, according to the author’s interpretation, the social capital situation of the chosen regions has been pointed out and considerations about it in respect with the economic development have been made. According to the study, the two chosen regions represent different degrees of social capital. These seem to affect somehow the diverse economic development of the North and the South.

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