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Measuring social capital – Is there a single underlying explanation?

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Abstract

Social capital has not been measured in any general way yet as previous surveys have used their own ad hoc methodologies. This fact is due to the heterogeneity of the very definition of social capital. Therefore, consensus concerning measurement has not yet been reached. Based on ten existing empirical approaches at the macro, meso and micro level, we inductively identify the four main variables observed this far. By applying principal components analysis, we show that four indicators measuring elements of social capital at the micro, meso and macro levels all powerfully load onto one single underlying component. However, the results from the analyses also show that Putnam’s Instrument is the variable that has the weakest association with the unitary measure of social capital and may constitute a second component.

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  • Bjørnskov, Christian & Svendsen, Gert Tinggaard, 2003. "Measuring social capital – Is there a single underlying explanation?," Working Papers 03-5, University of Aarhus, Aarhus School of Business, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:aareco:2003_005
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    Cited by:

    1. Islam, M. Kamrul & Gerdtham, Ulf-G. & Gullberg, Bo & Lindström, Martin & Merlo, Juan, 2008. "Social capital externalities and mortality in Sweden," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 6(1), pages 19-42, March.
    2. Stoyanova, Alexandrina Petrova & Díaz Serrano, Lluís, 2013. "Disentangling the link between health and social capital: A comparison of immigrant and native-born populations in Spain," Working Papers 2072/222194, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Department of Economics.
    3. Soogwan Doh & Edmund J. Zolnik, 2012. "Social capital and entrepreneurship: an empirical analysis of the role of social capital in self-employment," Chapters,in: Entrepreneurship, Social Capital and Governance, chapter 7, pages 160-191 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    4. repec:spr:nathaz:v:90:y:2018:i:3:d:10.1007_s11069-017-3103-0 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Mina Baliamoune-Lutz, 2009. "Human Well-Being Effects Of Institutions And Social Capital," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 27(1), pages 54-66, January.
    6. Yakovlev, Pavel & Leguizamon, Susane, 2012. "Ignorance is not bliss: On the role of education in subjective well-being," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 41(6), pages 806-815.
    7. Ahmad, Mahyudin & Hall, Stephen G., 2014. "Explaining social capital effects on growth and property rights via trust-alternative variables," MPRA Paper 58358, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Social capital; measurement; public policy; corruption; civic participation; generalised trust; principal component analysis;

    JEL classification:

    • A12 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Other Disciplines
    • C71 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Cooperative Games
    • D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights
    • D60 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - General
    • D70 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - General
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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