Handbook of Social Capital

Handbook of Social Capital

The Troika of Sociology, Political Science and Economics

Elgar original reference

Edited by Gert Tingaard Svendsen and Gunnar Lind Haase Svendsen

The Handbook of Social Capital offers an important contribution to the study of bonding and bridging social capital networks, balancing the ‘troika’ of sociology, political science and economics. Eminent contributors, including Nobel Prize winner Elinor Ostrom, explore the different scientific approaches required if international research is to embrace both the bright and the more shadowy aspects of social capital. The Handbook stresses the importance of trust for economies all over the world and contains a strong advocacy for cross-disciplinary work within the social sciences.

Chapter 17: Locational Choice, Ethnicity and Assimilation

Gil S. Epstein

Subjects: business and management, organisation studies, social policy and sociology, sociology and sociological theory

Extract

Gil S. Epstein 17.1 Introduction The locational choice of migrants has an important role in determining the assimilation process into the local population. The social capital of migrants is developed by the fiscal and ethnic surroundings in the host country. This is determined by their choice of location, the networks they join and the level of ethnicity they choose. In this chapter we consider the different ways migrants choose where they live and analyse its effect on the assimilation process. This assimilation affects their social capital and, in the long run, has an effect on different migrants and their families. Migration decisions take into consideration the migrant’s ability to adjust to a new environment: for example, finding jobs and accommodations and the ability to continue consuming ethnic goods which is a function of the level of the network externality in the destination (see, for example, Epstein, 2002; Bauer et al., 2007). A migrant might decide that others have been making decisions based on better information than he has. That is, the migrant may take the position that so many other people cannot be wrong. If the migrant behaves in this way and discounts his/ her private information he/she may adopt a decision rule that gives rise to herd behavior. Herd behavior and network externalities may have opposite effects (see Epstein, 2002; Bauer et al., 2007). While herd behavior may attract migrants, the network externality does the opposite telling the migrants not to join a...

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