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Social Capital and Health: A Meta-Analysis

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Abstract

This study investigates the extensive empirical literature on social capital and health using meta-analysis. Our final sample consists of 12,459 estimated effects taken from 450 studies. Our main result is that the overall mean size of the effect of social capital on health is very small, though it is statistically significant. This low association follows from a relatively large share of individually insignificant estimates, combined with the large sample sizes that characterize this literature. Furthermore, despite an extensive theoretical literature concerned with delineating different kinds of social capital, we find few systematic empirical differences. While cognitive social capital has a significantly stronger association with health than structural social capital, especially for mental health, the difference is empirically minor. There is no evidence of significant differences between bonding, bridging, and linking social capital.

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  • Xindong Xue & W. Robert Reed, 2019. "Social Capital and Health: A Meta-Analysis," Working Papers in Economics 19/01, University of Canterbury, Department of Economics and Finance.
  • Handle: RePEc:cbt:econwp:19/01
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    1. Borgonovi, Francesca & Andrieu, Elodie, 2020. "Bowling together by bowling alone: Social capital and COVID-19," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 265(C).
    2. Tomáš Havránek & T. D. Stanley & Hristos Doucouliagos & Pedro Bom & Jerome Geyer‐Klingeberg & Ichiro Iwasaki & W. Robert Reed & Katja Rost & R. C. M. van Aert, 2020. "Reporting Guidelines For Meta‐Analysis In Economics," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 34(3), pages 469-475, July.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Social capital; Health; Meta-analysis; Meta-regression; Partial correlation coefficient; Research synthesis; Mental health; Physical health; Self-reported health;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • B49 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - Other
    • C49 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods: Special Topics - - - Other
    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being

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