The Spatial Dimension of Social Capital:
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The Spatial Dimension of Social Capital: An Exploration Zong-Rong Lee 李宗榮 Institute of Sociology Academia Sinica Taipei, Taiwan. Spatially Bounded Social Interactions

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The Spatial Dimension of Social Capital: An Exploration Zong-Rong Lee 李宗榮 Institute of Sociology

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The spatial dimension of social capital an exploration zong rong lee institute of sociology

The Spatial Dimension of Social Capital:

An Exploration

Zong-Rong Lee

李宗榮

Institute of Sociology

Academia Sinica

Taipei, Taiwan


The spatial dimension of social capital an exploration zong rong lee institute of sociology

  • Spatially Bounded Social Interactions

  • Earlier writers have found that people are localized in their social contacts and that their interactions are mediated by conditions of urbanization and locals of neighborhood where they dwell in (Park, Fisher 1982, Wellman…)

  • Geographical and social space structure the likelihood of social interactions; proximate actors form ties more frequently and have stronger influence on each other. (Festinger 1950; W. White1956; Blau 1977)

  • Other similar studies on mate selection, political attitude, social trips between city areas etc.

  • Spatially proximate companies are more likely to share directors. Mints and Schwartz (1985); Kono et al, (1998) Burt (2006)

  • The likelihood that a venture capitalist invests in a new target declines with the distance between venture capitalist and its target. Sorensen and Stuart (2000)


The spatial dimension of social capital an exploration zong rong lee institute of sociology

  • Spatial Dimension of Social Capital?

  • Social Capital: resources embedded in a social networks that can be accessed and mobilized in instrumental actions (Lin 2001)

  • > Is there a spatial dimension behind the generation of social capital? And if so, what’s its pattern?

  • 1. As social capital represents the network embedded resources and is mostly unequally distributed, is there any spatial association of this distribution? Do people endowed with different levels of social capital also show differences in geographic reach?

  • 2. What social economic factors account for such differences? For example, do people of a higher status (e.g, job prestige, education, wealth) tend to have a social capital of a higher geographic reach, or vice versa?

  • 3. Studies show consistent impact of social capital on instrumental actions. How may this effect be conditioned by the factor of proximity. What kind of roles does the factor of spatial distance play in the process of instrumental actions where the effect of social capital is at work?


The spatial dimension of social capital an exploration zong rong lee institute of sociology

Distance to Accessed Position

  • Sample: Social Capital Survey, USA 2007 Cross-Sectional Data. (n=1443 )

  • Distance measurement in Position-Generator module

  • Is there anyone you know who is a NURSE?[Yes, No.]

  • Typically, how long does it take you to travel to meet this person?

  • (1) Less than 15 minutes

  • (2) 15-30 minutes

  • (3) 30-60 minutes

  • (4) 1-2 hours

  • (5) 2-3 hours

  • (6) 3-5 hours

  • (7) 5-12 hours

  • (8) more than 12 hours


The spatial dimension of social capital an exploration zong rong lee institute of sociology

Social Relations Tend to be LOCAL

  • 76.7% of all reported ties fall within a 1 hour distance range between egos and reached alters.

    (1433 respondents report 10807 ties for 22 positions)


The spatial dimension of social capital an exploration zong rong lee institute of sociology

Some Descriptive Statistics ( 22 positions)


The spatial dimension of social capital an exploration zong rong lee institute of sociology

Correlation


The spatial dimension of social capital an exploration zong rong lee institute of sociology

“Social Capital in the Creation of Human Capital”


The spatial dimension of social capital an exploration zong rong lee institute of sociology

Prestige Homophily and Social Networking

People of a higher status tend to connect with others also of a higher status.


The spatial dimension of social capital an exploration zong rong lee institute of sociology

Distance is NOT a Function of Income Level


The spatial dimension of social capital an exploration zong rong lee institute of sociology

Ego’s Prestige vs. Distance to Accessed Position

Respondents of a higher job prestige tend to have spatially distant networks (that are also more likely to be high in job prestige)


The spatial dimension of social capital an exploration zong rong lee institute of sociology

Spatial Distance vs. Positions Prestige

Percentage Distribution of Respondents’ Distances to 22 Positions


The spatial dimension of social capital an exploration zong rong lee institute of sociology

Spatial Distance vs. Position Prestige

The distance b/w egos and alters is highly associated with alter job prestige. Valuable networks are geographically distant!


The spatial dimension of social capital an exploration zong rong lee institute of sociology

  • A Prestige-Spatial Network Structure

  • 1.Respondents with higher education level, job prestige are more likely to access valuable networks. (human capital principle).

  • 2.They are also more likely to extend the reach of their networks beyond their surrounding geographic neighborhood.

  • 3.The prestige of accessed positions is highly associated with the geographical distances between egos and reached alters.

    A Three Way Interaction!

    • Individuals of a higher social status tend to have spatially distant networks that are also more likely to be of a higher status.

  • When the principle of homophily is working so that two persons both demonstrating high job prestige will be more inclined to maintain their friendship, the underlying fact is that their geographic distance from each other more likely will be greater than that of others.


The spatial dimension of social capital an exploration zong rong lee institute of sociology

Executives Have Greater Geographic Reach

Distance vs. Percentage of Executive Respondents


The spatial dimension of social capital an exploration zong rong lee institute of sociology

  • The Strength of Distant Ties

  • Remember that valuable networks tend to be geographically distant.

    • Do they give STRENGTH?

  • Empirical test on acquisition of job information

  • J1. Now I would like you to think of the last months, did someone mention job possibilities, openings or opportunities to you, without your asking, in casual conversation?(1) Yes(0) No

  •  Would social capital at different geographical distances deliver differing effects? Would distant ties fare better?

  • Previous Studies:

    • Weak Ties (Granovetter)

    • Social Capital: extensity, range, upper prestige (Lin)

    • Structural Holes: brokerage position (Burt)


The spatial dimension of social capital an exploration zong rong lee institute of sociology

Variables

Extensity: the number of positions accessed (0~22)

Highest Prestige: prestige score of highest position accessed

Range: range of the prestige scores of positioned accessed (difference b/w highest and lowest scores)

Sum of Distance (1~8) for 22 accessed positions

Mean of Distance for 22 accessed positions

 In general, we expect social capital that is geographical distant to deliver a better effect on an individual’s acquisition of job information.


The spatial dimension of social capital an exploration zong rong lee institute of sociology

>The further the network extensity, the greater its effect!

>Network resources bounded locally get discounted!


The spatial dimension of social capital an exploration zong rong lee institute of sociology

>Network range further away has greater effect!

>The greatest effect is at third distance (D3) level.


The spatial dimension of social capital an exploration zong rong lee institute of sociology

>Upper network prestige that is further away has stronger effect.


The spatial dimension of social capital an exploration zong rong lee institute of sociology

Predicted Probability of Job Information Acquisition for

Network Extensity at Different Levels of Distance


The spatial dimension of social capital an exploration zong rong lee institute of sociology

Predicted Probability of Job Information Acquisition for

Network Range at Different Levels of Distance


The spatial dimension of social capital an exploration zong rong lee institute of sociology

Predicted Probability of Job Information Acquisition for

Highest Network Prestige at Different Levels of Distance


The spatial dimension of social capital an exploration zong rong lee institute of sociology

  • Summary

  • A spatial dimension of social capital was identified, and social capital varies by distance: The prestige of accessed positions is highly associated with the geographical distances between egos and reached alters. Higher-status networks tend to be geographically distant.

  • Prestige Homophily principle works Over the Proximity principle: People of a higher prestige form networks with each other, despite the likely long distance separating them.

  • “The Strength of Distant Ties”: A geographically distant social capital delivers a stronger effect on the acquisition of job information than a geographically closer one. Beneficial effect of social capital gets discounted when network bounded locally.

  • The function of spatial influence on network utility may not be linear. (curvelinear ?)


The spatial dimension of social capital an exploration zong rong lee institute of sociology

  • Discussion

  • Spatial Extensityis congruent with the concept of Social Capital

    • Individuals with a wide variety of networks (i.e., extensity, diversity) might also have networks of wider geographic reach.

    • Such spatial extensity can probably prevent them from being constrained by localnetworks that mostly deliver redundant information, as weak-ties and structural holes arguments suggest.

  • Instead of asking “Why do weak ties have strength?”, we should ask

    Why do ties with strength tend to be WEAK?

    • This study suggests that it’s probably because valuable networks tend to be geographically distant; as the result, the relationships may tend to be weaker as well).

  • Is SPACE an endogenous dimension of social capital?

    • remember the prestige-spatial network structure that we identified


The spatial dimension of social capital an exploration zong rong lee institute of sociology

Is “Structural Holes” A Spatial Concept?

Ave. Distance of Robert’s Ties > Ave. Distance of James’ Ties


The spatial dimension of social capital an exploration zong rong lee institute of sociology

Thank You!


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