Ideas of Social Capital in Early German Historical Economics

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The interest in the concept of social capital has generated a continuous stream of publications and new research from the 1960s onwards, as well as some interest in the origins of the concept. These conceptual histories of social capital start from the beginning of the twentieth century. Arguing that one should look further back in time, this paper shows how the earlier German historical economists – including Wilhelm Roscher (1817–1894), Bruno Hildebrand (1812–1878) and Karl Knies (1821–1898) – disagreed about capital; Roscher and Hildebrand used concepts of intangible capital that came close to the idea of modern social capital, while Knies considered such applications of the idea of capital detrimental for economics.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEssays in Economic and Business History
Pages (from-to)47-60
Publication statusPublished - 2009
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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