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The Relationship between Stress and Social Capital among Police Officers

  • Martin Gächter
  • David Savage
  • Benno Torgler

This paper analyzes the effectiveness of social capital in reducing the negative externalities associated with stress, as well as the physical and psychological indicators of stress among police officers. Despite the fact that there is a large multidisciplinary literature on stress or on social capital, the link between both factors is still underexplored. In this empirical paper we therefore aim at reducing such a shortcoming. We focus on a strategically important work environment, namely law enforcement agents, that is not only characterized as physically and emotionally demanding, but also as an essential part for a well-functioning society due to the fact that inefficiencies in the police force can induce large negative externalities. Using a multivariate regression analysis focusing on nine different proxies for stress and two proxies for social capital and conducting several robustness checks, we find strong evidence that an increased level of social capital is correlated with a lower level of stress. From a policy perspective, our findings suggest that stress reduction programs should actively engage employees to build stronger social networks.

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Paper provided by School of Economics and Finance, Queensland University of Technology in its series School of Economics and Finance Discussion Papers and Working Papers Series with number 250.

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Length: 38 pages
Date of creation: 10 Sep 2009
Date of revision: 10 Sep 2009
Handle: RePEc:qut:dpaper:250
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  1. Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer & Robert Vishny, 1998. "The Quality of Goverment," NBER Working Papers 6727, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. He, Ni & Zhao, Jihong & Ren, Ling, 2005. "Do race and gender matter in police stress? A preliminary assessment of the interactive effects," Journal of Criminal Justice, Elsevier, vol. 33(6), pages 535-547.
  3. Randy Hodson, 2005. "Management Behaviour as Social Capital: A Systematic Analysis of Organizational Ethnographies," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 43(1), pages 41-65, 03.
  4. Alesina, Alberto & La Ferrara, Eliana, 2002. "Who trusts others?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(2), pages 207-234, August.
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  6. Zak, Paul J & Knack, Stephen, 2001. "Trust and Growth," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(470), pages 295-321, April.
  7. Benno Torgler, 2003. "Why do people go to war?," Defence and Peace Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(4), pages 261-280.
  8. Erdal Tekin, 2004. "Employment, Wages, and Alcohol Consumption in Russia," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 71(2), pages 397-417, October.
  9. Stotland, Ezra, 1991. "The effects of police work and professional relationships on health," Journal of Criminal Justice, Elsevier, vol. 19(4), pages 371-379.
  10. Paldam, Martin, 2000. " Social Capital: One or Many? Definition and Measurement," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 14(5), pages 629-53, December.
  11. Swatt, Marc L. & Gibson, Chris L. & Piquero, Nicole Leeper, 2007. "Exploring the utility of general strain theory in explaining problematic alcohol consumption by police officers," Journal of Criminal Justice, Elsevier, vol. 35(6), pages 596-611, December.
  12. Christopher F Baum, 2006. "An Introduction to Modern Econometrics using Stata," Stata Press books, StataCorp LP, number imeus, November.
  13. Schaltegger, Christoph A. & Torgler, Benno, 2007. "Government accountability and fiscal discipline: A panel analysis using Swiss data," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(1-2), pages 117-140, February.
  14. Woolcock, Michael & Narayan, Deepa, 2000. "Social Capital: Implications for Development Theory, Research, and Policy," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 15(2), pages 225-49, August.
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