Social capital, migration, ethnic diversity and economic performance

Multidisciplinary evidence from South-East Europe

by Adnan Efendic (Author) Bojana Babic (Author) Anna Rebmann (Author)
©2017 Monographs 190 Pages


This interdisciplinary book brings an empirical evidence that social capital is an important building block in the reintegration processes, migration challenges and economic dynamism of the SEE communities. Such a conclusion opposes the common belief that (re)establishing social relations in a post-ethnic conflict environment is difficult, or sometimes even impossible. These are indeed societies where trust in people and institutions remains low, but it is often replaced with other forms of social capital emerging on a daily basis, within and between different population strata, either formally but often informally.
Most people who know the region are aware that formal and state institutions in South-East Europe enjoy very low levels of trust. Nearly everybody loves to point to ethnicity as the causal factor behind every difficulty. The authors of this groundbreaking study explore two basic questions: how do people meet their needs and the needs of others when official institutions do not function? And how do members of different ethnic groups experience the role of others and cross symbolic boundaries? The answers, constructed out of empirical evidence using a variety of methods, point to the crucial importance of social capital as an everyday resource, and to the essential role of ethnic, national, and religious diversity in enhancing people's life chances in an unstable environment.
Eric Gordy, Professor of Cultural and Political Sociology, University College London
Since Mark Granovetter many of us know that both over-socialised (macro) level, and under-socialised (narrowly individualist) representations of social world may lead to counter-effective policies. We need to focus on the meso level, where social cooperation is the most real and the most productive. That leads us to the concept of social capital. This is something the authors of this book understand very well. Moreover, applying it, they are able to shed light on human behaviour in the context of the two key phenomena of present day Europe: migration and capacity for self-help during the crises. Great research questions and contribution.
Tomasz Mickiewicz, Professor at Aston University and Honorary Research Fellow at University College London

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Contents
  • List of Figures
  • List of Tables
  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction to Social Capital Specifics of the SEE Region (Adnan Efendic / Bojana Babic / Anna Rebmann)
  • Social Capital, Migration, Ethnic Diversity and Economic Performance in the Literature (Bojana Babic / Adnan Efendic / Anna Rebmann)
  • Social Capital in Periods of Crisis and Normality – Empirical Investigation from Bosnia and Herzegovina (Adnan Efendic)
  • Social Capital and Migration – A Qualitative Investigation from the SEE Region (Bojana Babic)
  • Social Capital and Ethnic Diversity – A Qualitative Investigation from the SEE Region (Bojana Babic)
  • Ethnic Diversity and Economic Performance of Individuals and Households in a Postconflict Environment – Evidence from Bosnia and Herzegovina (Adnan Efendic)
  • Rebuilding SEE Region Through Different Forms of Social Capital (Adnan Efendic / Bojana Babic / Anna Rebmann)
  • References
  • Notes about the Authors
  • Index
  • Series index

← 6 | 7 →

List of Figures

← 8 | 9 →

List of Tables

← 10 | 11 →


We would like to acknowledge support given to this research by the Regional Research Promotion Programme in the Western Balkans (RRPP), run by the University of Fribourg on a mandate from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), Federal Department of Foreign Affairs. We thank the RRPP for financing the project, for training and for various regional and international networking opportunities that we developed through the project. We also acknowledge support from the Center for Intradisciplinary Social Applied Research (CISAR), Sarajevo.

Individuals who supported this project included the RRPP director Nicolas Hayoz, RRPP programme manager Jasmina Opardija-Susnjar, RRPP programme advisor Magdalena Solska and our RRPP local coordinator Dzenana Hrlovic. We would like to thank Aston Business School and, in particular, Professor Tomasz Mickiewicz and Dr Anna Rebmann for their support, as well as our colleagues Dr Hariz Halilovich, Mr Mirza Mujaric, Aleksandra Djordjevic and Aldin Glamocic, who provided important assistance throughout the project. Any weaknesses in this book are the responsibility of the authors. ← 11 | 12 →

← 12 | 13 →


Introduction to Social Capital Specifics of the SEE Region

This book brings together research that focuses on social capital (SC), migration, ethnic diversity and economic performance in the south-east European (SEE) region (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Serbia). These affect the social structures of these societies, which are still struggling to rebuild social ties, to control migration and to improve their economic performance, all of which were heavily affected during the 1990s conflict period. These issues are very important for the reintegration of the SEE region more than two decades after the conflicts and for its aspirations towards the EU membership (Croatia already being a member).

These themes are attractive for researchers and have been widely studied in different social science disciplines, including sociology, anthropology and economics – but mainly as separate concepts. This book provides a more comprehensive research effort based on multidisciplinary evidence. We treat these phenomena – social capital, migration, ethnic diversity and economic performance – as interrelated and endogenous and look at them from different angles, investigating them with different research methodologies.

The book does not study relationships between all of these research areas simultaneously but provides a gradual and sequential approach. First, it investigates determinants of social capital in the periods of normality and crisis (floods) that occurred in the region; then it looks how different dimensions of social capital interact with (non)migration experience and later extends this focus to the role of ethnic diversity in affecting social capital of different migrant categories. We end by investigating how ethnic diversity affects the economic performance of individuals and households.

South-eastern Europe – and in particular Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) – is a region with one of the most volatile ethnic structures in Europe. Ethnic identities played a crucial role in the 1990s conflicts. To (re)build multiethnic societies it is crucial to understand if ethnicity and ← 13 | 14 → ethnic diversity in changed heterogeneous and/or homogeneous ethnic environments influence social capital and the economic performance of individuals and families living in these societies. The outcomes of this research will therefore help to bring about an understanding of the specific situation in the SEE region but also in similar environments elsewhere.

This multidisciplinary and multifocused research uses ideas from different disciplines and theoretical approaches; however, its main contribution to knowledge and policy comes from empirical work based on new data specifically gathered from this part of the SEE region. The book investigates these data using relevant qualitative and quantitative research methodologies with different areas of focus, which examine different dimensions, different relationships and roles of social capital, migration, ethnic diversity and economic performance. Thus, through our research framework, we ask what determines prosocial activities (social capital outcomes) of different people (migrants and nonmigrants) and in different periods (crisis and normality), focusing on relational and structural social capital (inputs). We also investigate how structural dimensions of social capital, considered through ethnic diversity and ethnically diverse networking, affect prosocial engagement, as well as the economic performance of individuals and households.


ISBN (Hardcover)
Publication date
2017 (August)
social capital migration ethnic diversity economic performance South-East Europe Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Oxford, Wien, 2017. 190 pp., 1 b/w ill., 1 coloured ill., 5 b/w tables

Biographical notes

Adnan Efendic (Author) Bojana Babic (Author) Anna Rebmann (Author)

Adnan Efendic is an associate professor of economics at the University of Sarajevo, School of Economics and Business; he is an affiliate fellow at CERGE-EI, Prague and CISAR, Sarajevo. He is an applied economist and his research has been based on different methodologies, including, in particular, metaregression analysis, dynamic panel analysis and structural equation modelling. Bojana Babic currently works as an independent researcher while proceeding with her PhD studies. She holds two MA degrees in international businesses and migration studies from universities in Italy, Germany and Norway. Her research has been developed around different issues in migration field. Some of her papers have already been published in leading journals.  Anna Rebmann is lecturer in economics and international business at the Economics and Strategy Group, Aston Business School, Aston University. Her research focuses on institutions, social capital and entrepreneurship.


Title: Social capital, migration, ethnic diversity and economic performance
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190 pages