The effects of community social capital on school performance: A spatial approach
The influence of social capital on economic activities has been a central theme in the literature for quite a long time, but the relationship between social connectedness and school choice has not been addressed. If the primary objective of social capital is to create cohesiveness through the connectivity of community members, then it is clear that parents’ school choice decisions are influenced by the groups or organizations to which they belong. Ni (2007) argues that parents’ decisions not only influence students’ academic performance, but also affect school expenditures. Thus, it is worthwhile to investigate the effect of social capital on school performance. The measurement of social capital has been debated for a long time. In this paper we create a geographically bounded community around schools in Mississippi employing GIS instead of following the commonly used political boundaries such as school district or county to measure social capital. Then we estimate the social capital stock for each school to analyze the relationship between the school's performance and existing social capital. Data were collected from the Northeast Regional Center for Rural Development (NRCRD) and the Mississippi Department of Education for the academic year 2005–2006. We find that schools located in communities with a higher stock of social capital significantly outperform those with relatively low levels of social capital. The results also suggest that students’ race and socio-economic status significantly reduce primary school performance, holding all else equal. This research helps to understand the importance of social capital from spatial perspectives and will guide policy makers in future resource allocations.
Volume (Year): 42 (2013)
Issue (Month): C ()
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