Social Capital, Rurality, and Accessibility: A Comparative Study Between Turkey and Italy

Türk U., Dolciotti M., Östh J., Reggiani A., Nijkamp P.

in: Development Studies in Regional Science, Zhenhua Chen,William M. Bowen,Dale Whittington, Editor, Springer, London/Berlin , Singapore, pp.475-496, 2020

  • Publication Type: Book Chapter / Chapter Research Book
  • Publication Date: 2020
  • Publisher: Springer, London/Berlin 
  • City: Singapore
  • Page Numbers: pp.475-496
  • Editors: Zhenhua Chen,William M. Bowen,Dale Whittington, Editor
  • Abdullah Gül University Affiliated: Yes


Over the past years, we have observed a growing interest among social scientists and policymakers in deepening their understanding of the importance of the social capital concept, against the background of a broad set of socio-economic experiences in various countries. The concept is popularly defined as a set of individual and societal gains embedded in social ties and networks. The extent to which societies produce and benefit from social capital depends, inter alia, on locational characteristics such as human capital accumulation, segregation, employment rates, the wellbeing of individuals, as well as daily and periodic mobility patterns in relation to the job/housing balance, commuting distances, and in a general sense, rural-urban differences. The aim of this chapter is to examine the impact of job accessibility on social capital at a regional scale, with special attention to rural areas. Job accessibility is considered as an indicator of spatial connectivity, and thus it can strongly relate to social capital. The associated analyses will be done by empirically studying Turkish and Italian provinces (on the basis of the European Union-NUTS3 level regions).

A quantile regression model is employed to examine job accessibility and rurality in relation to social capital in 81 Turkish and 110 Italian provinces. In the analysis, social capital is measured by a community resilience index based on a set of relevant data on civic infrastructure, metropolitan stability, homeownership, and political participation. The empirical analysis is carried out for Italy and Turkey. In the last few decades, both countries have experienced a decline in rural livelihood and now have a similar percentage of the rural population. Meanwhile, mainly due to the geographical and socio-economic structure, the two countries show different patterns and development characteristics of accessibility. The findings of this paper highlight these differences and similarities and show social capital variations in response to accessibility and rurality in both Turkey and Italy.