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Do cultural capital and social capital matter for economic performance? An empirical investigation of tribal agriculture in New Caledonia

Natalia Zugravu-Soilita, Rajwane Kafrouni, Séverine Bouard and Leïla Apithy

Ecological Economics, 2021, vol. 182, issue C

Abstract: This paper proposes an empirical investigation of the impact of social relations, referred to as structural social capital, and cultural values, referred to as intangible cultural capital, on tribal agricultural production in New Caledonia. By using microdata from an original survey on tribal communities, we construct a simultaneous equations model to explore the mechanisms by which cultural values and social relations interact with agricultural performance. Several original findings emerge from this study. First, agricultural performance (production and yield) is a result and, simultaneously, an explanatory factor of social relations, highlighting the limited substitutability between these two sources of wealth (agriculture and social capital). Second, cultural values appear to be an explanatory factor of tribal social relations and thus indirectly affect economic performance. Moreover, our results suggest that the complementarity between the forms of capital is essential for the extensification—maintenance/scaling up—of tribal agriculture (crop production) and even more essential for the intensification (performance, i.e. crop yield) of this activity and the persistence of social ties. Our results thus show that the neoclassical hypothesis of perfect substitutability between the components of wealth is not valid for socioeconomic sustainability.

Keywords: Sustainable development; Cultural capital; Social capital; Tangible wealth; Intangible wealth; Tribal agriculture; Socioeconomic relationship (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:182:y:2021:i:c:s0921800920322242

DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2020.106933

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