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 24: Building Social Capital

Robert Chase and Rikke Nørding Christensen

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


Robert Chase and Rikke Nørding Christensen 24.1 Introduction The large amount of literature on social capital shows that, while the concept is multidimensional and its characteristics vary by context, social capital is a valuable development asset. Thus, many development activities seek to enhance it. This chapter presents evidence on how to build and enhance social capital by investigating whether and how certain World Bank operations enhance social capital. Social capital is in broad terms defined by the World Bank as ‘the norms and networks that enable collective action’. Social capital is a concept with broad intuitive and operational appeal. Social capital is a vital yet underappreciated development asset, which refers to a class of assets that inhere in social relationships, such as social bonding and bridging, makes those with access to it more effective and can be enhanced for lasting effects. As a rubric encompassing many institutional characteristics important for development efforts success or failure, social capital represents an important asset for practitioners to understand and enhance. Further, evidence from many different contexts suggests communities and individuals, who are better endowed with social capital, enjoy better services, more effective governance and improved welfare. Certain mechanisms in development operations seek to enhance and build social capital. The World Bank’s growing portfolio of communitydriven development (CDD) operations have been associated with building social capital. A recent World Bank study ‘Thailand Social Capital Evaluation (2006)’ finds that indicators of social capital differ significantly...

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