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Measuring community strength and social capital

John Western, Robert Stimson, Scott Baum and Yolanda Van GELLECUM

Regional Studies, 2005, vol. 39, issue 8, 1095-1109

Abstract: Western J., StimsonR., Baum S. and Van Gellecum Y. (2005) Measuring community strength and social capital, Regional Studies 39 , 1095-1109. Five case study communities in both metropolitan and regional urban locations in Australia are used as test sites to develop measures of 'community strength' on four domains: Natural Capital; Produced Economic Capital; Human Capital; and Social and Institutional Capital. The paper focuses on the fourth domain. Sample surveys of households in the five case study communities used a survey instrument with scaled items to measure four aspects of social capital - formal norms, informal norms, formal structures and informal structures - that embrace the concepts of trust, reciprocity, bonds, bridges, links and networks in the interaction of individuals with their community inherent in the notion social capital. Exploratory principal components analysis is used to identify factors that measure those aspects of social and institutional capital, while a confirmatory analysis based on Cronbach's α explores the robustness of the measures. Four primary scales and 15 subscales are identified when defining the domain of social and institutional capital. Further analysis reveals that two measures - anomie, and perceived quality of life and wellbeing - relate to certain primary scales of social capital.

Keywords: Social capital; Community performance; Factor analysis; Valeur de l'interaction sociale; Performance communautaire; Analyse des facteurs; Sozialkapital; Gemeinschaftsleistung; Faktorenanalyse; Capital social; Rendimiento comunitario; Analisis de factores; JEL classifications: R00; R58; Z13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2005
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DOI: 10.1080/00343400500328222

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