Number 26: Communities, social capital and public policy: literature review




Author:  David Johnson, Bruce Headey and Ben Jensen

This review explores the meaning and relevance of community and social capital drawing on a wide range of disciplines, in particular economics.

The review suggests four key principles for measuring community strength and social capital:

  • distinguish between the structure (size, density) of community networks and their content (norms of trust, reciprocity and participation)
  • specify precisely the geographical area and/or type of organisation to which measures apply
  • develop measures of community/networks/social capital that can be validly presented at both individual and aggregate┬á

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