Social Capital and Community Economic Development in Los Angeles Koreatown: Faith-Based Organizations in Transitional Ethnic Community

Posted: 1 Dec 2009

Date Written: 2004

Abstract

The role of faith-based organizations in the development of social capital in ethnic communities, particularly the Korean-American community in Los Angeles, California, is examined.Using social capital and community development as a theoretical background, whether religious-based social capital enhances economic and business opportunities in Koreatown is considered. Between October 2002 and October 2003, a spatial analysis of U.S. census records and the Korean Business Directory was performed to clarify the distribution of the Korean population and their institutions in the Los Angeles area.Sunday services and other meetings in four Korean congregations, and board meetings of Korean Churches for Community Development (KCCD) and the Korean American Museum (KAM), were observed.Also surveyed were 46 people from selected Korean congregations and one business association, andin-depth interviews were conducted with pastors from the selected congregations, as well as small business owners, church members, and community leaders. Analysis of the data reveals that Korean congregations play a pivotal role in creating social capital for the Korean immigrant community in Los Angeles: many Koreans have built close social networks through the ethnic churches.In fact, Korean churches act as small business incubators in Koreatown, placing information and financial capital within the reach of immigrant entrepreneurs.Because these Koreans place more trust in those from the same religious group than in those from the same ethnic group, it appears that faith-based social capital can be more important than ethnic resources in the establishment of immigrant businesses. (SAA)

Keywords: Religious groups, Korean Americans, Community development, Social capital, Social networks, Asian Americans, Ethnic communities, Immigrant entrepreneurs

Suggested Citation

Choi, Hyunsun, Social Capital and Community Economic Development in Los Angeles Koreatown: Faith-Based Organizations in Transitional Ethnic Community (2004). University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's Academy for Entrepreneurial Leadership Historical Research Reference in Entrepreneurship, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1513777

Hyunsun Choi (Contact Author)

University of North Florida ( email )

4567 St. Johns Bluff Road, South
Jacksonville, FL 32224-2645
United States

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