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The Economic Approach to Social Capital

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  • Edward L. Glaeser
  • David Laibson
  • Bruce Sacerdote

Abstract

To identify the determinants of social capital formation, it is necessary to understand the social capital investment decision of individuals. Individual social capital should then be aggregated to measure the social capital of a community. This paper assembles the evidence that supports the individual-based model of social capital formation, including seven facts: (1) the relationship between social capital and age is first increasing and then decreasing, (2) social capital declines with expected mobility, (3) social capital investment is higher 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, and (7) social capital appears to have interpersonal complementarities.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 7728.

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Date of creation: Jun 2000
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Publication status: published as Glaeser, E. L., D. Laibson and B. Sacerdote. "An Economic Approach To Social Capital," Economic Journal, 2002, v112(483,Nov), 437-458.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7728

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  1. Barsky, Robert B, et al, 1997. "Preference Parameters and Behavioral Heterogeneity: An Experimental Approach in the Health and Retirement Study," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(2), pages 537-79, May.
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  4. 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.
  5. Sheryl Ball & Catherine Eckel & Philip J. Grossman & William Zame, 2001. "Status In Markets," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(1), pages 161-188, February.
  6. Robert B. Barsky & Miles S. Kimball & F. Thomas Juster & Matthew D. Shapiro, 1995. "Preference Parameters and Behavioral Heterogeneity: An Experimental Approach in the Health and Retirement Survey," NBER Working Papers 5213, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Denise DiPasquale & Edward L. Glaeser, 1998. "Incentives and Social Capital: Are Homeowners Better Citizens?," NBER Working Papers 6363, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Alberto Alesina & Eliana La Ferrara, . "Participation in Heterogeneous Communities," Working Papers 151, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  11. 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.
  12. Glaeser, Edward Ludwig & Laibson, David I. & Scheinkman, Jose A. & Soutter, Christine L., 2000. "Measuring Trust," Scholarly Articles 4481497, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  13. Edward P. Lazear, 1995. "Culture and Language," NBER Working Papers 5249, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. 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.
  15. La Ferrara, Eliana & Alesina, Alberto, 2000. "Participation in Heterogeneous Communities," Scholarly Articles 4551796, Harvard University Department of Economics.
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