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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

Questions comments suggestions

Questions, Comments, Suggestions

Thank you