Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Jones, D. James

Committee Member

Parisi, Domenico

Committee Member

Gill, A. Duane

Committee Member

Rezek, P. Jon

Committee Member

Blanchard, C. Troy

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access



Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Arts and Sciences


Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work


This dissertation explores the determining effects of non-economic factors on economic growth of developed versus developing nations. While earlier economic theories have traditionally focused on land, labor, capital and technology as the principle determining factors of economic growth, latter-day normative theorists demonstrated the importance of cultural forces and human capital variables on economic growth of nations. This dissertation is an extension of this emphasis put on economic growth by the latter-day normative theorists. Economic activities for developed and developing nations have been used as a proxy stock variable (for economic growth) for three points in time ? 1980, 1990 and 2000. The data for economic activities has been obtained from Jerry Dwyer?s dataset while the independent variables such as economic freedom has been obtained from the Fraser Institute and that of social capital variables have been obtained from the World Values Survey for the years 1980, 1990 and 2000. The central focus of the research has been to observe the correlations between the several components of economic freedom and social capital variables (such as trust and membership) among developed and developing nations followed by multiple regression analyses of the economic freedom and social capital variables on economic growth of developed and developing nations. The findings of this research suggest that physical capital and economic freedom and unequivocally significant determinants of economic growth in both the developed and developing nations. Trust on the other hand has been understood to be a limited variable in the way it is conceptualized in the World Values Survey. Within this limitation, ?personal trust? has been found to be declining over the years for all the nations, has very little association with membership categories over the years and is negatively correlated with economic activities/economic growth or output per worker. The impact of membership or belongingness on economic activities is very different in developed versus developing countries. Overall, this research has helped to broaden the boundaries of economic growth with the extension of sociological variables (such as trust and membership) into the field of Economics. The research has broad-based implications on the public policies of government across nations.