In this contribution, we offer an analysis that evaluates the impact of the recent financial and economic crisis on social capital. An economic crisis offers a unique chance to study people’s associational lives, volunteering, network‐making, and trust‐building under duress. Theoretical perspectives on the relationship between social capital and economic development emphasize a reciprocal relationship between the two. Therefore, we hypothesize that if economic performance is compromised, this might lead to an erosion of social capital. More importantly, however, we also argue that states can actively intervene by means of fiscal policy measures. We will illustrate our approach by comparing 29 Organisation for Economic Co‐operation and Development countries before and after the crisis. Using qualitative comparative analysis, we demonstrate that imperatives related to fiscal policy stimuli provide leverage on social capital development.