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The Economic Approach to Social Capital

  • Edward L. Glaeser
  • David Laibson
  • Bruce Sacerdote

To identify the determinants of social capital formation, it is necessary to understand the social capital investment decision of individuals. Individual social capital should then be aggregated to measure the social capital of a community. This paper assembles the evidence that supports the individual-based model of social capital formation, including seven facts: (1) the relationship between social capital and age is first increasing and then decreasing, (2) social capital declines with expected mobility, (3) social capital investment is higher in occupations with greater returns to social skills, (4) social capital is higher among homeowners, (5) social connections fall sharply with physical distance, (6) people who invest in human capital also invest in social capital, and (7) social capital appears to have interpersonal complementarities.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w7728.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 7728.

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Date of creation: Jun 2000
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Publication status: published as Glaeser, E. L., D. Laibson and B. Sacerdote. "An Economic Approach To Social Capital," Economic Journal, 2002, v112(483,Nov), 437-458.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7728
Note: LE LS
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  1. Glaeser, Edward Ludwig & Laibson, David I. & Scheinkman, Jose A. & Soutter, Christine L., 2000. "Measuring Trust," Scholarly Articles 4481497, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  2. Kreps, David M. & Milgrom, Paul & Roberts, John & Wilson, Robert, 1982. "Rational cooperation in the finitely repeated prisoners' dilemma," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 245-252, August.
  3. Robert B. Barsky & Miles S. Kimball & F. Thomas Juster & Matthew D. Shapiro, 1995. "Preference Parameters and Behavioral Heterogeneity: An Experimental Approach in the Health and Retirement Survey," NBER Working Papers 5213, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. La Porta, Rafael, et al, 1997. "Trust in Large Organizations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(2), pages 333-38, May.
  5. Alberto Alesina & Eliana La Ferrara, 1999. "Participation in Heterogeneous Communities," NBER Working Papers 7155, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Abreu, Dilip, 1988. "On the Theory of Infinitely Repeated Games with Discounting," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(2), pages 383-96, March.
  7. Edward P. Lazear, 1999. "Culture and Language," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(S6), pages S95-S126, December.
  8. Denise DiPasquale & Edward L. Glaeser, 1998. "Incentives and Social Capital: Are Homeowners Better Citizens?," NBER Working Papers 6363, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. La Ferrara, Eliana & Alesina, Alberto, 2000. "Participation in Heterogeneous Communities," Scholarly Articles 4551796, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  10. Greif, Avner, 1993. "Contract Enforceability and Economic Institutions in Early Trade: the Maghribi Traders' Coalition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(3), pages 525-48, June.
  11. Fudenberg, Drew & Maskin, Eric, 1986. "The Folk Theorem in Repeated Games with Discounting or with Incomplete Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(3), pages 533-54, May.
  12. Sheryl Ball & Catherine Eckel & Philip J. Grossman & William Zame, 2001. "Status In Markets," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(1), pages 161-188, February.
  13. Barsky, Robert B, et al, 1997. "Preference Parameters and Behavioral Heterogeneity: An Experimental Approach in the Health and Retirement Study," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(2), pages 537-79, May.
  14. Knack, Stephen & Keefer, Philip, 1997. "Does Social Capital Have an Economic Payoff? A Cross-Country Investigation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1251-88, November.
  15. Glenn C. Loury, 1976. "A Dynamic Theory of Racial Income Differences," Discussion Papers 225, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
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