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Thursday 16th July, 11:00 - 12:30 Room: N-131

Measuring social relations, social networks and social capital in comparative surveys 2

Convenor Mr Christof Wolf (GESIS - Leibniz-Institute for the Social Sciences )
Coordinator 1Mr Dominique Joye (University Lausanne)

Session Details

The measurement of social relations, social networks and social capital, here understood as resources accessible through one’s social relations, has attracted a lot of attention. Dependent on the intended purpose there exists instruments to measure aspects of specific relations (spouse, best friend), instrument capturing “personal communities”, i.e. the egocentric network approach, or instruments measuring social capital through, for example, social support questionnaires or the position or resource generators.

While we know a lot about the performance of these measures in a national context we lack information on their performance in comparative studies. This session therefore aims to explore the challenges posed by adapting survey instruments measuring social relations, social networks and social capital to a comparative, cross-national investigation. These challenges include problems of
• equivalence of the meaning of stimuli; e.g. do the terms “friends”, “discuss important matters” or “to be close to someone” have the same meaning across countries.
• equivalence of resources; e.g. is knowing a person who can lend me money or who can repair my car equally important in all societies? or
• equivalence of occupations selected for the position generator; e.g. can we find a set of occupations that reflects the entire social structure of different countries equally well?

Of course, these are only few selected examples and there exists many more. We welcome all contributions investigating the challenges encountered when trying to measure social relations, network and capital in cross-national surveys

Paper Details

1. Household Level Measurement of Social Capital in Rural Punjab
Mr Shiv Kumar (A.S. College, Khanna, India, Pincode-141401)

Social capital is the rules, norms, obligations, reciprocity, and trust embedded in social relations, social structures, and society’s institutional arrangements which enable its members to achieve their individual and community objectives. The main aim of this paper is to measure social capital at the household level in rural Punjab in India. Mean score on the social capital index is found to be 59.90 points out of possible 100 points and standard deviation is 22.70. It is also observed that as the level of education and the level of income.

2. The Ties that Bind, or Don’t: How Post-conflict Development Outcomes are Conditioned by Levels of Social Capital
Miss Carli Steelman (University of New Mexico )

The role of social capital in post-conflict contexts has gone largely unexplored. This paper attempts to remedy this situation by asking the following questions: 1) How does civil war impact individual levels of social capital? 2) After the cessation of hostilities which segments of the population are most likely to engage in bridging social capital? To answer these questions individual-level survey data from respondents living in Bosnia-Herzegovina is analyzed. This data is provided by the South-East European Social Survey Project (SEESSP) and indicates that ethnic minorities are most likely to engage in bridging social capital.

Dr Anna Almakaeva (NRU Higher School of Economics)

This study focuses on the relations between different types of trust. Scholars usually differentiate generalized from particularized trust, but the distinction between particularized and ingroup trust has not been emphasized. However, it may shed an additional light on the controversial evidence existing in the social capital literature. Although some scholars postulate a negative effect of ingroup ties on generalized trust (Banfield, 1958; Fukuyama, 1995; Putnam, 2001), empirical evidence has demonstrated contradictory findings. Preliminary analysis shows that the impact of ingroup trust varies across societies. It is significantly positive in developed countries and negative but weak in developing countries.