Economic Growth, Technological Progress and Social Capital: The Inverted U Hypothesis


  • Angelo Antoci,

    Corresponding author
    • Università di Sassari
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  • Fabio Sabatini,

    Corresponding author
    • Sapienza Università di Roma
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  • Mauro Sodini

    Corresponding author
    • Università di Pisa
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    • The paper benefited from comments by participants at conferences in Ancona, Bento Gonçalves, Paris and Santander and at seminars held in Forlì, Rome and Trento. Mauro Sodini acknowledges that this work has been performed within the activity of the PRIN project ‘Local interactions and global dynamics in economics and finance: models and tools’, MIUR, Italy. We are grateful to two anonymous referees whose comments allowed a substantial improvement of the paper. Materials for the study of social capital, economic growth and technology are retrievable at the Social Capital Gateway, a website edited by the corresponding author of this article at the address Needless to say, the usual caveats apply.

Angelo Antoci

Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche e Aziendali

Università di Sassari



E-mail: Italy

Fabio Sabatini

Facoltà di Economia

Sapienza Università di Roma

via del Castro Laurenziano 9

00161, Roma


Mauro Sodini

Dipartimento di Economia e Management

Università di Pisa





We set up a theoretical framework to analyse the role of economic growth and technological progress in the erosion of social capital. Under certain conditions on parameters, the relationship between technological progress and social capital can take the shape of an inverted U curve. Furthermore, we show the circumstances that allow the economy to follow trajectories where the stock of social capital grows endogenously and unboundedly.