‘Strong link’ between social capital and poverty

There is a strong association between social capital and household economic well-being, especially as far as poverty perception is concerned, according to a new Italian research paper.

The paper looks at official European Union data sources, focusing on two sets of variables: one serving as a proxy for community and household social capital endowment, and a supplementary set describing household economic well-being.

Key findings

  • A strong correlation is found between household economic well-being and a range of factors such as housing quality, environmental/neighbourhood conditions, and rates of crime and vandalism. Household well-being generally increases in line with high levels of social capital.
  • Great Britain features in a group of European countries with high social capital endowment and medium-high levels of economic well-being compared with others.
  • Models aimed at capturing the relationship need, however, to take account of possible reverse causality, whereby income levels determine forms of social capital endowment.
  • Anti-poverty policies should seek to enhance household economic well-being by facilitating or supporting the development of desirable forms of social capital.
  • Further research should seek to identify which characteristics of individual/household socio-economic conditions, and of community/household social capital endowment, exert more influence on household poverty. This will help to disclose the primary risk factors.

Source: Isabella Santini and Anna De Pascale, Social Capital and Household Poverty: The Case of European Union, Working Paper 109, Universita degli Studi di Roma (La Sapienza)