Social Capital and Basic Goods: The Cautionary Tale of Drinking Water in India
This study uses micro-data from the 1998-99 Indian Time Use Survey (ITUS; covering 77,593 persons in 18,591 households in Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Meghalaya, Orissa, and Haryana) to argue that time use data provides a natural metric for measuring "social capital" building activities and for distinguishing between the relative importance of "bonding" into groups or "bridging" within communities. The study examines the correlation between inequality in landownership, caste status, measures of local social capital, and whether or not a household will have to collect water. In India, the probability that a rural household fetches water is 4.8% and 9.1% lower in communities in which the average time spent on social interaction and community-based activities at the district-level doubles, but it is 18.9% greater when the time in group-based activities doubles. Inequalities in landownership and home ownership are associated with considerably larger differences in local tap water availability. (c) 2010 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved.
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