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The Economic Approach to Social Capital

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  • Edward L. Glaeser
  • David Laibson
  • Bruce Sacerdote

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Edward L. Glaeser & David Laibson & Bruce Sacerdote, 2000. "The Economic Approach to Social Capital," NBER Working Papers 7728, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7728
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    JEL classification:

    • D0 - Microeconomics - - General
    • J0 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General

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