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Reproduction of Social Capital: How Much and What Type of Social Capital Is Transmitted from Parents to Children?


  • Veselý, Arnošt

    () (Institute of Sociology of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic)


The article analyzes the extent of the transmission of social capital from parents to their children. Three measures of social capital are used: social trust, participation in social activities and useful social connections. The data from the longitudinal extension of the PISA collected in the Czech Republic in 2003 are used. First, bivariate correlations of three types of social capital are analyzed. Second, using logistic regression, four theoretical models (the social capital model, the family background model, the personality model and the contextual model) are tested. As dependent variables we use the social trust of fifteen-year-olds and their participation in four types of extra-curricular activities. The analysis reveals only a weak intergenerational transmission of the same social capital types (“intergenerational line-up”) and almost no intergenerational transmission of different social capital types (“intergenerational cross-over”). No theoretical model is particularly strong in explaining the social trust of children. The social trust of youths remains largely unexplained and is created irrespectively of family cultural and financial capital. Conversely, participation in extra-curricular activities is highly socially stratified. It is substantially better predicted by all theoretical models, though their effect is dependent upon the activity at stake. The author concludes that social capital is comprised of several different forms of capital, which are only distantly related. The finding that family background has a relatively weak impact on children’s social trust but a strong effect on their participation of extra-curricular activities has profound implications for public policy.

Suggested Citation

  • Veselý, Arnošt, 2006. "Reproduction of Social Capital: How Much and What Type of Social Capital Is Transmitted from Parents to Children?," Ratio Working Papers 105, The Ratio Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:ratioi:0105

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Delhey, Jan & Newton, Kenneth, 2004. "Social trust: Global pattern or nordic exceptionalism?," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Inequality and Social Integration SP I 2004-202, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
    2. Hall, Peter A., 1999. "Social Capital in Britain," British Journal of Political Science, Cambridge University Press, vol. 29(03), pages 417-461, June.
    3. Delhey, Jan & Newton, Kenneth, 2002. "Who trusts? The origins of social trust in seven nations," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Social Structure and Social Reporting FS III 02-402, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
    4. repec:cup:apsrev:v:76:y:1982:i:01:p:94-108_18 is not listed on IDEAS
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    Cited by:

    1. Brown, Sarah & McHardy, Jolian & Taylor, Karl, 2014. "Intergenerational analysis of social interaction and social skills: An analysis of U.S. and U.K. panel data," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 43-54.
    2. Yogo, Urbain Thierry, 2009. "Le Capital Social: Entre Evidences Théoriques et Balbutiemments Empiriques
      [Social Capital: Theoretical Evidence and empirical issues]
      ," MPRA Paper 19441, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item


    Social capital; social trust; political socialization; generations; the Czech Republic; youths;

    JEL classification:

    • A12 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Other Disciplines
    • Z00 - Other Special Topics - - General - - - General
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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