Won't You Be My Neighbor? Uncovering ties between Social Capital and COVID-19 Outcomes at Local Levels

39 Pages Posted: 26 Feb 2021

See all articles by Timothy Fraser

Timothy Fraser

Northeastern University

Courtney Page-Tan

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Department of Security and Emergency Services

Daniel P. Aldrich

Northeastern University - College of Social Sciences and Humanities, Security and Resilience Program

Date Written: February 18, 2021

Abstract

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

Fraser, Timothy and Tan, Courtney and Aldrich, Daniel P., Won't You Be My Neighbor? Uncovering ties between Social Capital and COVID-19 Outcomes at Local Levels (February 18, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3788540 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3788540

Timothy Fraser (Contact Author)

Northeastern University ( email )

360 Huntington Ave,
Boston, MA 02115
United States

Courtney Tan

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Department of Security and Emergency Services ( email )

United States

HOME PAGE: http://courtneypagetan.com

Daniel P. Aldrich

Northeastern University - College of Social Sciences and Humanities, Security and Resilience Program ( email )

360 Huntington Ave,
Boston, MA 02115
United States

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