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  1. Heiner MeulemannForschungsinstitut für Soziologie, Universität zu Köln Greinstraße 2, D50939 KölnTel. 0221 - 470 5658, Fax 0221 - 470 5169e-mail: meulemann@wiso.uni-koeln.de Perspectives on Social Capital Definition, questions and some results from the European Social Survey Lecture at the X. Conference of the SU-Higher School of Economics, Moscow, April 6-10, 2009 I like to express my gratitude to the “Verein der Freunde und Förderer der Universität zu Köln” (Association of friends and sponsors of the University of Cologne)for the generous support of this research visit. > traditional-corporatist regime

  2. Three topics 1 How is social capital (SC) best defined? According to this definition: 2 Which questions on SC should be reserarched first? And which have? First priority: Transfer hypothesis 3 Example of transfer hypothesis - European social survey - Economic sphere of labour relations

  3. 1 Defining social capital: Social relations as resources of actors in contexts

  4. 1.1 Criteria • Putnam: “refers to features of social organization, such as trust, norms and networks” • Combines reference to social process – “organization” – with enumeration – “such as”. • I will analyze what is “social” of “features of organization” in order to understand the enumeration

  5. „Features of social organization“ = collective good of organizations. Organizations can be distinguished by their SC – just as by constitution, function, size. Grammatical singular “organization” accidental. Yet: singular meaningful: “organization” = process sustained by persons. Members of a group interact, “organize themselves”, so that collective products result Question: what “collective goods” or products?

  6. Three collective goods, resulting from interaction of persons (1) productivity of a network: from flow of exchanges between persons with positions and intentions (2) climate of trust: sufficient number of people reciprocate benevolent actions; if number goes down, trust risky, vicious circle: climate of distrust (3) validity of norm: sufficient number follow norm and sanction violations; if number goes down, vicious circle of deviance and tolerance, norm breaks down In each case: “collective good” from interaction of members. “Features of organization” established bottom up Therefore, genus proximum of definition not organizations, but persons. New definition 1: SC = any property of a group member, which contributes to group outputs.

  7. Problem of new definition 1: too broad, „social“ lost Contribution of persons also from human or cultural capital Therefore restricton: only outputs from membership in group. In pursuing common interest, members form social relations, interactions more densely knit amongst members than with non-members. Somewhat narrower definition 2: SC = sum of social relations a person holds in groups

  8. Problem of new definition 2: still too broad, includes intimate relationships Intimate = sexual and generational relations, rest on biology; everybody can, and most will, enter into them. Practiced in “private living arrangements”. “Private” = “particularistic” (Parsons): person essential for the relation many mothers, but only my mother is “my” mother SC consists of “universalistic” relations in “public” realms, persists with interchangeable persons New and final definition 3: SC = sum of social relations a person holds in groups beyond intimate living arrangements

  9. Uses of SC in social contexts SC does not “capitalize” by itself. In order to not decay, it must be utilized. What can actors gain from SC? Due to its relational nature, SC more useful when more relations in group. Therefore, distinction of contexts of use:

  10. 1.2 Relational capital and system capital: Concept and measurement “Relational SC” of persons - “system SC” of group System SC: conceived of independently of persons as sum of relations. Person may aim to manipulate and to improve relational SC System SC of group exists independently of members Emerging quality in two ways • network of relations knitted between members in pursuance of group goal = social structure of the group. • Some relations bundled in civic associations. System SC = sum of civic associations acting within group Measured in surveys by aggregation Two problems:

  11. Measurement problem 1: interdependency, solitary decisions In social reality interdependency: some are eager to and some detest emulating other people. Measurement should follow up interdependency until SC is established Yet surveys • neglect interdependency and time • Instead: means within groups at single time point Justification: Practical short-cut? Yes, but also substantive reasons: some decisions made without looking at others (join a tennis club). If this holds: measure of system SC as group mean of relational SC also theoretically justified

  12. Measurement problem 2: circularity, random sampling Danger of circularity: system SC = relational SC. Yet: Sum of relations of all persons does not necessarily amount to system SC of group. Example 1: Two persons related = only one relation, counting two relations not correct. However, random samplings: improbable that two persons with relation are drawn. Total as system SC feasible Example 2: Two persons join same association = one, not two association. Again, random sampling. Furthermore: multiple memberships reflect size of association. Again, total as system SC feasible

  13. Summary so far SC consists of relations of persons, basically relational Relations add up within a group to system SC: (a) network, social structure (b) civic associations Although system SC conceived of as independent of relational SC, measurement of system SC through mean of relational SC can be justified. Mean of relational SC = indicator of system SC. Question: Which properties of system SC fruitful for group member in pursuance of goals?

  14. 1.3. Three Properties of System SC From (1) density of social relations to (2) social trust and (3) validity of norms • fundamental, (2) and (3) derived This to be shown in following

  15. (1) Density of social relations Network of high mean personal relationships eases moves, each partner has more relations. That is: value of relational SC increases with system SC Quantity of relations increases the number of ways to attain goals Quality of relations affects probability of attainment on these ways. In particular: “Niceness” eases goal attainment. Starts interactions with a cooperative move, and end up better than people starting with a non-cooperative move (Axelrod) “Nice” relations result from two “nice” tendencies of partners • to trust each other, > 2nd property • to endorse norms of cooperation, > 3rd property

  16. (2) Climate of trust Trust = overrides suspicion that partner will not give back. More trusting, longer chain of reciprocation, stronger climate of trust Trust learned in “particularistic” relations, reinforced reciprocally in “universalistic” interactions I trust in others who have repeatedly not disappointed me, and others trust in me if I have repeatedly not disappointed them. My trust in others indicates the trust others have in me. Trust not personal attitude alone, but indicator of trustful relations in group. If trust = indicator of “niceness” of relations, climate of trust = system SC useful for persons

  17. (3) Validity of norms of cooperation Norms of cooperation (proscription “not to”), justified by the norm of reciprocity alone. Norms of institutions (e.g. marital fidelity), additionally justified by values the person beliefs in (“family” or “life”) Endorsement of norms of cooperation, more or less strongly reciprocated: • Behavior: If enough follow norms of cooperation and enough sanction violations, norm becomes valid. • Attitude: If enough endorse norm, it becomes valid Consequently, the more norm held among interaction partners, the more one can uphold norm oneself. Endorsement of norms = indicator of “nice” relations Validity of norms of cooperation = system SC

  18. In sum: Triad of system SC, but only „relations“ relational SC Distinction between density and “niceness” of social relations justifies to classify system SC into Putnam’s triad: “networks, trust, and norms” (order changed!). Yet: - density of relations only justified directly as a system SC - further arguments required to classify climate of trust and validity of norms of cooperation as system SC: indicators for “niceness” of social relations, not measured directly with reference to relations, but indirectly as means of attitudes. Test: switch back from system SC to relational SC: - Just as density of relations = system SC, so relations of person = “relational” capital. - However, while climate of trust and validity of norms = system SC, trust or norm endorsement not = SC of person.

  19. 1.4 System SC as context: Social order and opportunity structure Which kinds of groups bearer of system SC? Any aggregation level or “context”. Trivial question? No. To explain system SC, reference to analytical properties of groups. Question changes: Which kinds of analytical properties define their system SC? Two: (1) Name and a border, constitution and laws, folklore and customs. Become “social facts” = social order. (2) Resources of action: money, educational degrees, power. Circulate among citizens and make up different “life chances” = opportunity structure.

  20. Context 1: Social Order Consists of norms directly guiding actions. Valid because • most people endorse them • in large parts, written down in legal form: constitution. Example: equality defined in constitutions, achievement (equality’s twin value) only in peoples’ minds Typical variables: federal or unitary constitution, % Protestants (tradition of self-determination) Guides actions in same way as personal endorsement of norm – only difference: binds every citizen Must be symbolically identified: kings or presidents, laws and customs, flags and hymns, border stones and national football teams. Higher aggregation level = more important. Nation state has a social order, city precinct not

  21. Context 2: Opportunity Strucuture Sets de facto range of options for every citizen, beyond personal resources, indirectly affects actions. Results from actions of all citizens and all organizations of country. Examples: Social inequality, reduces trust. Democracy since long, facilitates associations. Options and restrictions in same way as opportunity profile of person (combination of resources) - only difference: for every citizen alike Need not be symbolically identified Lower aggregation level = more important level. Public swimming pool in neighborhood, not in city.

  22. Cross-Classification with societal domains

  23. 2 2 Classifying and evaluating research questions on SC

  24. “Capital” two qualities • every capital = means for ends to be attained in purposive action • every capital “capitalizes” = pays off in same kind These two qualities = dimensions to classify research questions

  25. Quality 1: means to ends in purposive action Money = exchange against goods and services. Prestige = used to attain goods and services from others. SC = channels to goods and services. Each: means to “success”. Yet difference: Money buys everything of its worth. “Success” no problem. Prestige, SC: be worked upon to become a means. “Success” problem. Thus: If SC contributes to success, consequences should before causes. If not, reduced importance of causes. SC research agenda: 1 consequences - 2 causes Money “success” for everyone who holds it, first: how got it; second: what done with it. Money research agenda: 1 causes - 2 consequences

  26. Quality 2: capitalization Money = interest. Prestige of educational degrees = prestige of occupations attained SC = social relations, pay off in social relations. That is: - Relational SC the more useful, the more embedded in network of relations, the more system SC. A’s relation to B = limited value if B knows nobody, = highly valuable if B at core of network. - Due to relational nature of SC, capitalization depends on context Research agenda: priority of effects of system SC: 1 on a means end chain of some action (“slopes”) 2 on ends themselves (“intercepts”)

  27. Figure 1: Causes versus consequences, processes versus outputs in social capital research

  28. Agenda followed by research up to now? Yes, but only implicitly Research not in SC per se or causes, but in consequences for social integration, democratic stability of nation state. At heart of SC research: transfer hypothesis. “Good government is a by-product of singing groups and soccer clubs” (Putnam). Abstractly: citizens’ involvement grants social integration. Transfer hypothesis: on consequences, implicitly priority of consequences over causes. But apart from that, not clear. . Meaning specified: using right half of figure 1.

  29. Transfer hypothesis, specified Country level correlation Corresponding person level effect: = more citizens in associations, more articulation of interests in democratic decision making = Transfer from civic life to organized social life. = Figure 1: SC as a means > action success Two Problems: (1) Articulation of interests not yet social integration. Further causal link from successes of persons to integration of groups, ultimate impact of social capital research. Beyond figure 1 to the right. Mostly, taken for granted on theoretical grounds and not researched empirically. (2) Reference also to embeddedness in macro conditions. Thus, “the singing groups and soccer clubs” = cipher for system SC. But its effects on micro relation not specified. Therefore: both effects of figure 1

  30. Transfer hypothesis, summarized Comprises right half of figure 1 as a whole and expands it to the right. To be tested, its four elements must be specified (1) Macro relation. To which added Two top down elements: (2) Effect hypothesis, capitalization of system SC (3) Mean hypothesis, output of system SC. A new bottom up element: (4) From action success to social integration

  31. 3 Example: Empowerment at the work place

  32. 3.1 Question and research design Transfer of transfer hypothesis From politics The more someone is involved in private associations, the more.. - able to assert political interests To labor relations system - attain empowerment at the workplace = range of discretion in order to make decisions about work

  33. Controls to examine transfer hypothesis of labor relations On the level of persons • Human capital, union membership, workplace On the level of countries - Institutions and opportunity structures of labour relations system

  34. Research Design: Influences on empowerment 5 Collective: work placesector, size of firm ? 4 Collective: strategyunion membership, ? + + + Empowerment:discretion at work 1 Civic Involvementsocial capital (+) 2 Human Capital in FirmPeople supervised, Prestige of occupation + + (+) - + (+) 3 Human Capital, personpolitical efficacy, education, Exit options Labour relations system: Favourable to unions

  35. Dependent Variable: Index of Inventory and a Question Inventory: “Please say how much the management at your work allows you: - to be FLEXIBLE in your working hours, - to DECIDE how your own daily work is organised, - to influence your work ENVIRONMENT, - to influence decisions about the general DIRECTION of your work, - to CHANGE your work tasks if you wish to?” “0 I have no influence” - “10 I have complete control” Single question: “To what extent can you ORGANIZE your own work, to a large extent (4), to some extent (3), very little (2) or not at all (1)?” – reversed for analysis Sample: ESS 2002, employed population

  36. Figure 1. Mean empowerment, one standard deviation above and below means Highest N: 6.69 Lowest PL: 2.49

  37. Empowerment at the Work Place High: Scandinavian countries, NL > social democratic regime Medium: AU, B, EI, I, LUX > traditional-corporatist regime Low: E, GR, PT, D-E, D-W > traditional-corporatist regime

  38. 3.2 Hypotheses and measurements: Level of persons (1) Civic Involvement: + (2) Human capital: Person: + Political efficacy, education, exit options (3) Human capital: Firm specific: + People supervised, prestige of occupation (4) Union membership: + (5) Work Place Size, sector of firm (6) Control variables: Age and Gender

  39. (1) Civic Involvementin private organizations “For each of these voluntary associations, tell me whether any of these things apply to you now or in the last 12 months - A member of such an organization - Participated in an activity arranged by such an organization - Donated money to such an organization - Done voluntary (unpaid) work for such an organization.” Membership + participation = belonging Donation of money + voluntary = engagement In 5 private associations: • sports clubs • consumer associations • scientific/educational/teachers’ associations • social clubs • cultural associations

  40. (3) Exit options - Index of (1) “How difficult or easy would it be for you to get a similar or better job with another employer?” and (2) “... and to start your own business?”, scale 0 to 10: + - partner employed: +

  41. 3.3 Hypotheses and measurements: Level of countries Countries characterized by labor rule system LRS, more or less favorable to workers = rule set and power structure, which exonerate workers from personal endeavor to attain empowerment; if unions successful = Workers less dependent on their own initiative

  42. Two Dimensions of LRS Dimensions - Relations between collectivities or individuals • Regulation through normative social order or factual opportunity structure Four-Fold Table Collective relations • Normatively: range covered by bargaining process • Factually: a high degree of organization and public support Individual relations • normatively: favor employment and restrict dismissal • Factually: a labor market situation with high employment and many secure work contracts Indicators in following table

  43. Table 1 Variables of the labor relation system

  44. Mean hypothesis Union efficiency hypothesis: The more collective or individual labor relations of a country favor normatively, or strengthen factually, the unions, the higher mean empowerment of employees

  45. Effect hypothesis Substitution hypothesis: The more the labor relation system of a country favors unions, the less important individual strategies become for the worker in order to attain empowerment. Negative cross-level interaction effect between LRS favorable to unions and individual endeavor to attain empowerment, in particular: human capital

  46. 3.4 Results Mean Union membership: • .359 mean of 19 countries • Range from .146 Portugal to .844 Denmark

  47. Table 3 Multi-Level-Regression of Empowerment on Person and Country Variables: Raw Coefficients

  48. Table 3 Multi-Level-Regression of Empowerment on Person and Country Variables: Variance Components

  49. Quantity of intercept and slope effects Mean:country 25 percentage points above grand mean > predicted intercept of 5.472 + 0.019*25=5.947, half a point on 11 point scale of empowerment. Slope: country 25 percentage points above mean > predicted slope for • people sv.: .456 + (-.00298*25) = .382 • exit option: .216 + (-.00174*25) = .172.

  50. 3.5 Conclusion:Hypotheses confirmed? Transfer hypothesis: confirmed. Effects stronger than many effects of the more immediate personal factors - Belonging to and engagement in private associations stronger than belonging to trade unions. Articulation of one’s interest in private realm more easily transformed into empowerment at the workplace than in public realm. - More distant = more effective route. Longer distances needed to acquire general capacities of self-assertion, while focusing on the very arena of interest narrows down opportunities to learn general capacities. Longer distances = more challenges to generalize.