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Social Capital and the Creation of Knowledge. Claudia Gonzalez-Brambila Francisco Veloso David Krackhardt. INFORMS, November 2006. Outline. Introduction Objective The data Importance The models Results Conclusions. Introduction. “Social capital metaphor is that

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social capital and the creation of knowledge

Social Capital and the Creation of Knowledge

Claudia Gonzalez-Brambila

Francisco Veloso

David Krackhardt

INFORMS, November 2006

  • Introduction
  • Objective
  • The data
  • Importance
  • The models
  • Results
  • Conclusions

“Social capital metaphor is that

people who do better are

somehow better connected”

  • Critical question is what is social capital?
    • Coleman (1988): Actors in embedded networks have superior achievements
      • Members obtain more coordination, they trust each other and develop better communication skills.
    • Burt (1992): Actors in open social structures with many structural holes, do better
      • Members can take advantage of “bridges” to connect with new members in other clusters, and get access to new information
  • Growing importance of production, dissemination and use of knowledge
  • Little understanding of what determines how such crucial knowledge is created
  • The interaction between individuals plays a critical role – social capital
  • Growing attention to the role of collaborative effort in the process of scientific knowledge generation
  • Paper examines the relationship between social capital and knowledge creation
    • Knowledge creation is research output and impact in the area of Natural Sciences
    • Creation process measured using publications and citations in ISI – Web of Science
    • Social capital is measured through co-authorship
the data
The Data
  • Data from SNI – National System of Researchers in Mexico
  • Information on 1,704 researchers in Natural Sciences that have been part of the SNI from 1991 to 2002
  • Information on all their publications in ISI Web of Science from 1981 to 2002
    • Publications per year
    • Citations per year
    • Authors per publication
  • Study enables analysis of most critical aspects of social capital:
    • Embeddedness
    • Positioning
    • Network Structure
  • Considers panel data with entire network
  • Study outside developed world - Mexico
critical aspects of social capital
Critical Aspects of Social Capital
  • Relational dimension:
    • Direct ties
    • Strengths of direct ties
  • Structural dimension
    • Density
    • Structural holes
    • Centrality
    • External-Internal index in terms of fields of knowledge
the models
The Models
  • Dependent variables:
    • Number of publications
    • Number of cites in the subsequent 4 years
  • Methods:
    • Negative Binomial fixed effects
  • Pit = F (Xit-1, ci, uit)
    • Xit-1: varies in both dimensions
      • number of direct ties, strength of direct ties, structural holes, density, normalized eigenvector (centrality), external-internal index,
      • Controls – past reputation and output, time
    • ci: individual unobserved effect
    • uit: error
    • Times: t-> 2 years; t-1 -> 3 years
some results
Some Results

*** significant at 0.1%, ** significant at 1%, * significant at 5%

  • Factors of social capital that consistently enhance productivity and impact:
    • Number of direct ties
    • Non dense networks
  • Influence output productivity, not impact
    • Centrality
    • Collaboration with researchers in other disciplines
  • Influence impact but not output productivity
    • Strenght of Direct ties
  • The structural holes variable is not significant when other variables are included
    • This variable has been used as the main measure of social capital
  • It is critical to control for various dimensions of social capital, as well as for unobserved individual heterogeneity