Social Capital and Economic Development
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Social Capital and Economic Development

Well-being in Developing Countries

Edited by Jonathan Isham, Thomas Kelly and Sunder Ramaswamy

The chapters in this volume explore the challenges and opportunities raised by this concept for researchers, practitioners and teachers. Social Capital and Economic Development is based upon a consistent, policy-based vision of how social capital affects well-being in developing countries.
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Chapter 6: The Interactions of Bonding, Bridging and Linking Dimensions of Social Capital: Evidence from Rural Paraquay

José Molinas


6. The interactions of bonding, bridging and linking dimensions of social capital: evidence from rural Paraguay José Molinas1 In the first part of this volume, Woolcock (Chapter 2) and Narayan (Chapter 4) detail how three dimensions of social capital can significantly affect economic and environmental outcomes. ‘Bonding’ social capital refers to relations among family members, close friends and neighbours; ‘bridging’ social capital refers to relations among more distant associates and colleagues who have somewhat different demographic characteristics irrespective of how well they know one another; ‘linking’ social capital refers to alliances with sym-pathetic individuals in positions of power. This chapter considers the determinants and interactions of selected forms of bonding, bridging and linking social capital among individual peasants, community groups and peasant federations in Paraguay. In particular, it poses the question whether two alternative path-dependent processes, rural poverty alleviation or rural poverty acceleration, partially depend on the nature of bonding, bridging and linking relationships within a community. The path-dependent properties that we explore can be illustrated with two hypothetical communities. In the first, a flood forces neighbours collectively to rebuild a bridge. This increases the number of informal, open community events within the community, such as maintenance of the local feeder road, which in turn leads to an increase in the effectiveness of the local peasant committee (as members build on the solidarity established by this incident and the subsequent expansion of community activities). This encourages other community members to join the local committee. The larger number of organized peasants...

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