Is Social Capital a Good Concept?

Midwest Political Science Association 67th Annual National Conference, Chicago, April 22-25, 2010

35 Pages Posted: 21 Apr 2010

See all articles by Christian Bjørnskov

Christian Bjørnskov

Aarhus University - Department of Economics and Business; Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN); Center for Political Studies; Institute for Corruption Studies

Kim Mannemar Sønderskov

Aarhus University - Department of Political Science

Date Written: April 21, 2010

Abstract

The aim of this paper is to explore whether the concept of social capital as popularized by Robert Putnam is a good social science concept. Taken Gerring’s work on concept evaluation as the starting point, the paper first presents a set of criteria for conceptual ‘goodness’ and discusses how social capital perform on these criteria. Afterwards, an empirical section explores the validity of the unidimensionality assumption of most definitions of social capital. This assumption is rejected in four separate tests at both the individual and aggregate level. A final section therefore discusses the results and their implications for the evaluation of the concept and future research within its paradigm.

Keywords: Social Capital, Principal Components Analysis, Concept Formation

JEL Classification: Z13

Suggested Citation

Bjørnskov, Christian and Sønderskov, Kim Mannemar, Is Social Capital a Good Concept? (April 21, 2010). Midwest Political Science Association 67th Annual National Conference, Chicago, April 22-25, 2010. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1593507 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1593507

Christian Bjørnskov (Contact Author)

Aarhus University - Department of Economics and Business ( email )

Fuglesangs Allé 4
Aarhus V, DK-8210
Denmark

Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN) ( email )

Box 55665
Grevgatan 34, 2nd floor
Stockholm, SE-102 15
Sweden

Center for Political Studies

Landgreven 3
Copenhagen K, DK-1301
Denmark

Institute for Corruption Studies

Stevenson Hall 425
Normal, IL 61790-4200
United States

Kim Mannemar Sønderskov

Aarhus University - Department of Political Science ( email )

Bartholins Allé è
DK-8000 Aarhus, 8000
Denmark

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
289
rank
102,663
Abstract Views
1,295
PlumX Metrics