Inequality in Access to Social Capital

Whereas much research has been done on the benefits of social capital, less is known about the causes of the unequal distribution of social capital in people’s networks. This study examines inequalities in access to social capital in terms of the socio-economic resources that are embedded in personal networks. Using data from NELLS, a nationally representative survey of the Dutch population aged 15–45 years, results show that within this age group access to social capital increases with age and educational qualifications, and is lower among women. Residing in a less affluent neighbourhood and scoring lower on a measurement for cognitive abilities are associated with less social capital. Participation in voluntary associations and having an ethnically diverse network are associated with more access to social capital. Surprisingly, when studying differences across national origin groups, we do not find that Turkish immigrants are disadvantaged in access to social capital.


About Giorgio Bertini

Research Professor. Founder Director at Learning Change Project - Research on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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