Working Papers, Department of Economics, Aarhus School of Business, University of Aarhus
Measuring social capital – Is there a single underlying explanation?
() and Gert Tinggaard Svendsen
Abstract: Social capital has not been measured in any general way
yet as previous surveys have used their own ad hoc methodologies. This fact
is due to the heterogeneity of the very definition of social capital.
Therefore, consensus concerning measurement has not yet been reached. Based
on ten existing empirical approaches at the macro, meso and micro level, we
inductively identify the four main variables observed this far. By applying
principal components analysis, we show that four indicators measuring
elements of social capital at the micro, meso and macro levels all
powerfully load onto one single underlying component. However, the results
from the analyses also show that Putnam’s Instrument is the variable that
has the weakest association with the unitary measure of social capital and
may constitute a second component.
Keywords: Social capital; measurement; public policy; corruption; civic participation; generalised trust; principal component analysis; (follow links to similar papers)
JEL-Codes: A12; C71; D23; D60; D70; Z13; (follow links to similar papers)
42 pages, March 1, 2003
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