New Report: Does Government Crowd Out Social Capital?
WASHINGTON—Ranking Member Mike Lee (R-UT) released a Joint Economic Committee report this week examining whether the growth of American government has contributed to declining social capital in the United States.
Americans' organizational memberships, marriage rates, workplace connections, and societal trust have all atrophied in the last half century. During the same time, all levels of government have grown substantially. The JEC's report traces the explosive growth of the U.S. government especially in the 1960s and 1970s, presenting evidence that growth in government activity may replace the functions once carried out by Americans' social networks.
The report also examines the JEC's Social Capital Index, showing that U.S. counties where households are more reliant on government programs tend to have weaker social capital. Likewise, the report finds that states with a greater number of regulatory restrictions tend to have lower levels of social capital.
The Joint Economic Committee is Congress's bicameral economic research center and home of the Social Capital Project, led by Ranking Member Mike Lee.