Measuring the returns to networking and the accumulation of social capital: any evidence of bonding, bridging, or linking?
This article presents analyses of individual investment in social capital using both the British Household Panel Survey (BHPS) and the UK Time Use Survey (2000) (UKTUS). We suggest a general theoretical framework that could possibly explain individual investment in various forms of social networking. Measures of social capital are then constructed in an attempt to capture the extent of individual investment in bonding, bridging, and linking networks. These measures, together with other socioeconomic indicators, are used as explanatory factors in wage equations, estimated using ordered probit, OLS, and instrumental variable approaches. We are unable to identify any consistent returns from investment in bonding and bridging networks. In contrast, the evidence suggests that any returns to investment in the development of linking social capital simply derive from the positive signals that group membership may transmit to potential employers. Our results underline the contrast between studies that consider social capital as an attribute of communities, as opposed to individuals, in that we find a negative return to social activity at the level of the individual.
American Journal of Economics and Sociology
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