Research Title: Public Investment and Social Capital. Do European Structural and Cohesion Funds Enhance Social Capital in European Regions?
“The EC grant has enabled me to set aside time to work on my book project, present and discuss related work in progress on international workshops and conferences as well as during a visiting stay, and receive valuable feedback from scholars in the field. I highly recommend to early career researchers to apply for the grant to pursue an individual research project.”
This project seeks to solve a fundamental political puzzle in the European Union (EU): why does European spending spur social capital development in some regions but not in others, despite similar levels of economic development? More than a third of the EU budget is set aside for redistributive spending to enhance growth by co-financing public investment in EU regions in select key areas and by supporting networks between policy-makers, businesses, and civil society actors. Yet, while EU spending has promoted networks and growth in some regions, it fell on infertile ground in others. This research offers a theoretical account of when and why European spending is effective in enhancing social capital. It suggests that EU investment can improve social capital, defined as the web of cooperative relationships in inter-personal and inter-organizational networks, through a two-step causal process. The argument is examined by combining individual-, organizational-, and regional-level data, comparing the link between EU investment and social capital across spending sectors and recipient regions over the past two European financial perspectives. The project promises three significant contributions. First, it bridges European politics, political economy, and political psychology to study the links between EU spending and social capital. Second, it will complement individual-level measures of social capital with organizational-level measures derived from an original survey data set. Third, it provides policy-makers with evidence on how to improve political accountability and checks on using EU funds domestically with implications for the funds’ effectiveness in enhancing social capital.
The principle deliverable of the project is a research monograph entitled ”The Power of the Purse: When European Spending Enhances Regional Social Capital, and Why”. Two related publications deal with the impact of EU cohesion policy on public opinion (CHALMERS AW and DELLMUTH LM, Fiscal redistribution and public support for European integration. European Union Politics, 16:3 (2015), pp. 386-407.) and the impact of international policy-making more generally on public opinion (DELLMUTH LM, The knowledge gap in world politics: Assessing citizen awareness of the United Nations Security Council. Review of International Studies (forthcoming); DELLMUTH LM and TALLBERG J,The Social Legitimacy of International Organizations: Interest Representation, Institutional Performance, and Confidence Extrapolation in the United Nations”, Review of International Studies, 41:3 (2015), pp. 451-75).
See this page for more information about Lisa’s research: www.lisadellmuth.se
Lisa will be happy to answer questions regarding the application process and share her tips for a successful Early Career Grant application.