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Measuring the bridging nature of voluntary organizations: a note on the importance of association size


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  • Coffé, Hilde
  • Geys, Benny


Recently, a distinction between cross-cutting (or bridging) and closed (or bonding) networks has been proposed in the social capital literature. One approach to empirically operationalize this distinction builds on connections between voluntary associations through individuals with multiple memberships. However, simply counting the number of members’ additional memberships in other associations, as in previous work, is inappropriate. Indeed, we illustrate that this is biased towards finding that large associations are more bonding. We then propose a technique to alleviate this bias and illustrate that the proposed correction is crucial to avoid erroneous conclusions in tests of the hypothesis that membership in bridging or bonding associations is differently related to individuals’ civic attitudes. -- Seit kurzem wird in der Literatur zu Sozialkapital eine Unterscheidung zwischen heterogenen (cross-cutting oder bridging) und homogenen (bonding) sozialen Netzwerken vorgenommen. Eine Möglichkeit, diese Unterscheidung empirisch umzusetzen, setzt an Verbindungen zwischen verschiedenen Vereinigungen über Personen mit mehreren Mitgliedschaften an. Wie in vorangegangenen Arbeiten ausschließlich die Anzahl der zusätzlichen Mitgliedschaften in anderen Vereinen als Maß der Verbindung zwischen einzelnen Organisationen zu zählen, erweist sich jedoch als ungeeignet. Zunächst zeigen wir, dass in diesem Fall die Schlussfolgerung begünstigt wird, große Vereine als homogener (bonding) zu beurteilen. Wir schlagen ein Verfahren zur Verminderung dieser Verzerrung vor und veranschaulichen, dass diese Korrektur ausschlaggebend für das Ergebnis von Hypothesentests ist, die auf den Zusammenhang zwischen der Mitgliedschaft in heterogenen (bridging) verglichen mit homogenen (bonding) Vereinigungen und dem sozialen Verhalten von Individuen schließen sollen.

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Paper provided by Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB) in its series Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Market Processes and Governance with number SP II 2007-04.

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Date of creation: 2007
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:wzbmpg:spii200704

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Keywords: Bridging and bonding; flemish municipalities; methodology; social capital; voluntary associations;


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Cited by:
  1. Geys, Benny & Heinemann, Friedrich & Kalb, Alexander, 2010. "Voter involvement, fiscal autonomy and public sector efficiency: Evidence from German municipalities," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 265-278, June.


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