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The effects of community social capital on school performance: A spatial approach

  • Misra, Kaustav
  • Grimes, Paul W.
  • Rogers, Kevin E.

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.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics).

Volume (Year): 42 (2013)
Issue (Month): C ()
Pages: 106-111

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Handle: RePEc:eee:soceco:v:42:y:2013:i:c:p:106-111
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/620175

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  1. Dee, Thomas S., 1998. "Competition and the quality of public schools," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 17(4), pages 419-427, October.
  2. Rupasingha, Anil & Goetz, Stephan J., 2007. "Social and political forces as determinants of poverty: A spatial analysis," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 36(4), pages 650-671, August.
  3. 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.
  4. Michael Marlow, 1997. "Public education supply and student performance," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 29(5), pages 617-626.
  5. Rupasingha, Anil & Goetz, Stephan J. & Freshwater, David, 2006. "The production of social capital in US counties," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 83-101, February.
  6. Marlow, Michael L., 1999. "Spending, school structure, and public education quality. Evidence from California," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 89-106, February.
  7. Thomas S. Dee, 2001. "Teachers, Race and Student Achievement in a Randomized Experiment," NBER Working Papers 8432, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Beugelsdijk, S. & Smulders, J.A., 2009. "Bonding and Bridging Social Capital and Economic Growth," Discussion Paper 2009-27, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  9. Mohammad Niaz Asadullah, 2008. "Sense in sociability? Maternal education, social capital and child schooling in rural Bangladesh," The European Journal of Development Research, Taylor and Francis Journals, vol. 20(3), pages 482-496.
  10. Misra, Kaustav & Grimes, Paul W. & Rogers, Kevin E., 2012. "Does competition improve public school efficiency? A spatial analysis," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(6), pages 1177-1190.
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