The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
Social capital is an instantiated informal norm that promotes cooperation between individuals. In the economic sphere it reduces transaction costs, and in the political sphere it promotes the kind of associational life that is necessary for the success of limited government and modern democracy. Although social capital often arises from iterated Prisoner’s Dilemma games, it also is a byproduct of religion, tradition, shared historical experience, and other types of cultural norms. Thus whereas awareness of social capital is often critical for understanding development, it is difficult to generate through public policy.