Summary: The profound changes experienced by rural areas in Europe over the past couple of decades have resulted in obvious disadvantages: loss of employment due to changes in the agricultural sector, migration of young people towards urban centres, leading to a demographic imbalance, and insufficient population and infrastructural density to support economic development and entrepreneurial activity. However, one resource that rural areas may be able to draw upon is their "social capital": the interaction of individuals participating and communicating in formal or informal networks in which higher levels of trust develop. It has been recognised that social capital can play a role in stimulating and fostering entrepreneurial activity, and hence facilitate job creation,in both the EU15 and the new Member States (NMS).
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