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date: 10 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article provides an overview of social capital in Asia. Social capital is trust and appears in two main forms: relational, based on societal norms, and systemic, based on societal institutions. The relational encourages personalistic transactions; and systemic trust, supports more formal, and usually larger, transactions backed by law. For economic development, the systemic form becomes crucial but needs to be compatible with relational norms. The dimensions of social capital are often dual in nature. This article employs a theory that accepts this and analyses the phenomena as yin–yang balancing, seeing trust as a culturally determined enabler of social cooperation. The evolutions of trustworthiness in Japan, China, and the Philippines are analysed. This article contributes to the literature on varieties of capitalism and business systems as well as that on social capital. It raises the question of the middle-income trap and development more generally.

Keywords: trust, social capital, Asia, business systems, varieties of capitalism, relational capital, systemic trust, institutions, societal norms

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