The purpose of this paper is to discover the unique and interactive effects of ethnic heritages and religious traditions on social capital and civic engagement. Findings support the Nordic exceptionalism thesis. Small Iowa towns populated with a higher proportion of Scandinavian descendents have more social capital and civic engagement than towns where other ethnic heritages predominate. However, the Lutheran affiliation of Scandinavian descendents accounts for the high level of both social capitals. Thus towns with more residents affiliated with the Lutheran denomination, regardless of the ethnic ancestry of residents, had more social capital
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