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The Relationship between Stress and Social Capital among Police Officers

  • Martin Gächter
  • David A. Savage
  • Benno Torgler

This paper analyzes the effectiveness of social capital in reducing the negative externalities associated with stress, as well as the physical and psychological indicators of stress among police officers. Despite the fact that there is a large multidisciplinary literature on stress or on social capital, the link between both factors is still underexplored. In this empirical paper we therefore aim at reducing such a shortcoming. We focus on a strategically important work environment, namely law enforcement agents, that is not only characterized as physically and emotionally demanding, but also as an essential part for a well-functioning society due to the fact that inefficiencies in the police force can induce large negative externalities. Using a multivariate regression analysis focusing on nine different proxies for stress and two proxies for social capital and conducting several robustness checks, we find strong evidence that an increased level of social capital is correlated with a lower level of stress. From a policy perspective, our findings suggest that stress reduction programs should actively engage employees to build stronger social networks.

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Paper provided by Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA) in its series CREMA Working Paper Series with number 2009-23.

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Date of creation: Sep 2009
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Handle: RePEc:cra:wpaper:2009-23
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  1. Benno Torgler, 2003. "Why do people go to war?," Defence and Peace Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(4), pages 261-280.
  2. James H. Stock & Motohiro Yogo, 2002. "Testing for Weak Instruments in Linear IV Regression," NBER Technical Working Papers 0284, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. He, Ni & Zhao, Jihong & Ren, Ling, 2005. "Do race and gender matter in police stress? A preliminary assessment of the interactive effects," Journal of Criminal Justice, Elsevier, vol. 33(6), pages 535-547.
  4. Woolcock, Michael & Narayan, Deepa, 2000. "Social Capital: Implications for Development Theory, Research, and Policy," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 15(2), pages 225-49, August.
  5. Swatt, Marc L. & Gibson, Chris L. & Piquero, Nicole Leeper, 2007. "Exploring the utility of general strain theory in explaining problematic alcohol consumption by police officers," Journal of Criminal Justice, Elsevier, vol. 35(6), pages 596-611, December.
  6. Schaltegger, Christoph & Torgler, Benno, 2006. "Government Accountability and Fiscal Discipline: A panel analysis using Swiss data," Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics, Working Paper Series qt1jc275p2, Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics.
  7. Christopher F Baum, 2006. "An Introduction to Modern Econometrics using Stata," Stata Press books, StataCorp LP, number imeus, November.
  8. Alesina, Alberto F & La Ferrara, Eliana, 2000. "Who Trusts Others?," CEPR Discussion Papers 2646, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Randy Hodson, 2005. "Management Behaviour as Social Capital: A Systematic Analysis of Organizational Ethnographies," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 43(1), pages 41-65, 03.
  10. Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1998. "The Quality of Government," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1847, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  11. Stotland, Ezra, 1991. "The effects of police work and professional relationships on health," Journal of Criminal Justice, Elsevier, vol. 19(4), pages 371-379.
  12. Zak, Paul J & Knack, Stephen, 2001. "Trust and Growth," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(470), pages 295-321, April.
  13. Erdal Tekin, 2004. "Employment, Wages, and Alcohol Consumption in Russia," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 71(2), pages 397-417, October.
  14. Paldam, Martin, 2000. " Social Capital: One or Many? Definition and Measurement," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 14(5), pages 629-53, December.
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