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Bridging vs. Bonding Social Capital and the Management of Common Pool Resources

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  • Kathy Baylis
  • Yazhen Gong
  • Shun Wang

Abstract

Social capital can facilitate community governance, but not all social capital is alike. We distinguish bonding social capital (within a village) from bridging social capital (between villages), and we compare their effects on the management of a common pool resource. We develop a theoretical model and show that bonding social capital can improve common pool resource management, while the effect of bridging social capital is mixed. We test these findings using primary data from Yunnan, China on social capital and firewood collection on communal lands. We find that bonding social capital decreases the consumption of the common pool resource, and bridging social capital erodes the effect of bonding. Bridging social capital also decreases the use of the common pool resource by villagers who are near subsistence levels of consumption. Our results are robust to alternative measures of social capital and to treating social capital as endogenous.

Suggested Citation

  • Kathy Baylis & Yazhen Gong & Shun Wang, 2013. "Bridging vs. Bonding Social Capital and the Management of Common Pool Resources," NBER Working Papers 19195, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19195
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Horning, Darwin & Bauer, Bernard O. & Cohen, Stewart J., 2016. "Missing bridges: Social network (dis)connectivity in water governance," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 43(PA), pages 59-70.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • Q2 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q23 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Forestry
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth

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