Won't You Be My Neighbor? Uncovering ties between Social Capital and COVID-19 Outcomes at Local Levels
39 Pages Posted: 26 Feb 2021
Date Written: February 18, 2021
Over the past thirty years, disaster scholars have highlighted that communities with stronger social infrastructure - including social ties that enable trust, mutual aid, and collective action - tend to respond to and recover better from crisis. However, comprehensive measurements of social capital across communities have been rare. This study adapts Kyne and Aldrich’s (2019) county-level social capital index to the census-tract level, generating social capital indices from 2011 to 2018 at the census-tract, zipcode, and county subdivision levels. To demonstrate their usefulness to disaster planners, public health experts, and local officials, we paired these with the CDC’s Social Vulnerability Index to predict the incidence of COVID-19 in case studies in Massachusetts, Wisconsin, and Illinois. We found that social capital and social vulnerability predicted as much as 95% of the variation in COVID outbreaks, highlighting their power as diagnostic and predictive tools for combating the spread of COVID.
Note: Funding Statement: This study has no funding to report.
Declaration of Interests: The authors declare no competing interests.
Keywords: social capital, social vulnerability, disaster, resilience, COVID-19, index
JEL Classification: P1, P4, Z18, D7
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation