Measuring the bridging nature of voluntary organizations: a note on the importance of association size
[Untersuchung des bridging Charakters von zivilgesellschaftlichen Organisationen: Zur Bedeutung der Vereinsgröße]
Recently, a distinction between cross-cutting (or bridging) and closed (or bonding) networks has been proposed in the social capital literature. One approach to empirically operationalize this distinction builds on connections between voluntary associations through individuals with multiple memberships. However, simply counting the number of members’ additional memberships in other associations, as in previous work, is inappropriate. Indeed, we illustrate that this is biased towards finding that large associations are more bonding. We then propose a technique to alleviate this bias and illustrate that the proposed correction is crucial to avoid erroneous conclusions in tests of the hypothesis that membership in bridging or bonding associations is differently related to individuals’ civic attitudes.
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