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Social Capital and Health: A Meta-Analysis

Xindong Xue and W. Reed ()

Working Papers in Economics from University of Canterbury, Department of Economics and Finance

Abstract: This study investigates the extensive empirical literature on social capital and health using meta-analysis. Our final sample consists of 12,459 estimated effects taken from 450 studies. Our main result is that the overall mean size of the effect of social capital on health is very small, though it is statistically significant. This low association follows from a relatively large share of individually insignificant estimates, combined with the large sample sizes that characterize this literature. Furthermore, despite an extensive theoretical literature concerned with delineating different kinds of social capital, we find few systematic empirical differences. While cognitive social capital has a significantly stronger association with health than structural social capital, especially for mental health, the difference is empirically minor. There is no evidence of significant differences between bonding, bridging, and linking social capital.

Keywords: Social capital; Health; Meta-analysis; Meta-regression; Partial correlation coefficient; Research synthesis; Mental health; Physical health; Self-reported health (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: B49 C49 I10 I31 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-soc
Date: 2019-01-01
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