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An Economic Approach to Social Capital

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Author Info

  • Edward L. Glaeser

    (Harvard University, Dartmouth University and NBER)

  • David Laibson

    (Harvard University, Dartmouth University and NBER)

  • Bruce Sacerdote

    (Harvard University, Dartmouth University and NBER)

Abstract

A standard optimal investment model can be used to analyse an individual"s decision to accumulate social capital. We analyse six facts that support the predictions of this individual--based approach: (1) social capital first rises and then falls with age, (2) social capital declines with expected mobility, (3) social capital rises in occupations with greater returns to social skills, (4) social capital is higher among homeowners, (5) social connections fall sharply with physical distance, (6) people who invest in human capital also invest in social capital. We fail to find robust evidence that social capital investments fall with the value of time or that geographic/religious groups generate social capital complementarities. Copyright Royal Economic Society 2002

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Royal Economic Society in its journal The Economic Journal.

Volume (Year): 112 (2002)
Issue (Month): 483 (November)
Pages: 437-458

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Handle: RePEc:ecj:econjl:v:112:y:2002:i:483:p:437-458

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  1. Luigi Guiso & Paola Sapienza & Luigi Zingales, 2000. "The Role of Social Capital in Financial Development," NBER Working Papers 7563, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Alberto Alesina & Eliana La Ferrara, 2000. "Participation In Heterogeneous Communities," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(3), pages 847-904, August.
  3. Kreps, David M. & Milgrom, Paul & Roberts, John & Wilson, Robert, 1982. "Rational cooperation in the finitely repeated prisoners' dilemma," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 245-252, August.
  4. John F. Helliwell & Robert D. Putnam, 2007. "Education and Social Capital," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 33(1), pages 1-19, Winter.
  5. Knack, Stephen & Keefer, Philip, 1997. "Does Social Capital Have an Economic Payoff? A Cross-Country Investigation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1251-88, November.
  6. Edward L. Glaeser & David I. Laibson & José A. Scheinkman & Christine L. Soutter, 2000. "Measuring Trust," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(3), pages 811-846, August.
    • Scheinkman, Jose A. & Soutter, Christine L. & Glaeser, Edward Ludwig & Laibson, David I., 2000. "Measuring Trust," Scholarly Articles 4481497, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  7. DiPasquale, Denise & Glaeser, Edward L., 1999. "Incentives and Social Capital: Are Homeowners Better Citizens?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(2), pages 354-384, March.
  8. Abreu, Dilip, 1988. "On the Theory of Infinitely Repeated Games with Discounting," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(2), pages 383-96, March.
  9. Glenn C. Loury, 1976. "A Dynamic Theory of Racial Income Differences," Discussion Papers 225, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  10. La Porta, Rafael, et al, 1997. "Trust in Large Organizations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(2), pages 333-38, May.
  11. Fudenberg, Drew & Maskin, Eric, 1986. "The Folk Theorem in Repeated Games with Discounting or with Incomplete Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(3), pages 533-54, May.
  12. La Ferrara, Eliana & Alesina, Alberto, 2000. "Participation in Heterogeneous Communities," Scholarly Articles 4551796, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  13. Greif, Avner, 1993. "Contract Enforceability and Economic Institutions in Early Trade: the Maghribi Traders' Coalition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(3), pages 525-48, June.
  14. Melissa Osborne & Herbert Gintis & Samuel Bowles, 2001. "The Determinants of Earnings: A Behavioral Approach," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 39(4), pages 1137-1176, December.
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