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Investments in social capital--implications of social interactions for the production of health

Listed author(s):
  • Bolin, Kristian
  • Lindgren, Björn
  • Lindström, Martin
  • Nystedt, Paul

This paper develops a theoretical model of the family as producer of health- and social capital. There are both direct and indirect returns on the production and accumulation of health- and social capital. Direct returns (the consumption motives) result since health and social capital both enhance individual welfare per se. Indirect returns (the investment motives) result since health capital increases the amount of productive time, and social capital improves the efficiency of the production technology used for producing health capital. The main prediction of the theoretical model is that the amount of social capital is positively related to the level of health; individuals with high levels of social capital are healthier than individuals with lower levels of social capital, ceteris paribus. An empirical model is estimated, using a set of individual panel data from three different time periods in Sweden. We find that social capital is positively related to the level of health capital, which supports the theoretical model. Further, we find that the level of social capital (1) declines with age, (2) is lower for those married or cohabiting, and (3) is lower for men than for women.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Social Science & Medicine.

Volume (Year): 56 (2003)
Issue (Month): 12 (June)
Pages: 2379-2390

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Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:56:y:2003:i:12:p:2379-2390
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