How do you measure social capital

German social climate index

Welcome to the homepage of the Basel Institute for Common Goods and Economic Research!
What actually is social capital and how can we measure it?
A simple definition: social capital is the sum of the intangible goods of a community, for example gift culture, trust, hospitality, helpfulness and friendliness.
With its research, our institute is a pioneer in the study of social capital and its importance for large and small communities.
If sheDebt relief of the Federal Republic of Germany, the Republic of Austria, evaluating the organized volunteering (Attention: PDF with 2 MB) in the canton of Basel, the establishment of cooperative village inns in Baden or the search for the worldwide social capital in index benchmarks - the aim is always to track down and measure social capital in order to ultimately bring it to bear as value. For the first time we have succeeded in measuring social capital in a developing country: In conjunction with the German-Nepalese aid organization OneWorld, we were able to ask 553 Chapang families in three villages: “How big is your social capital?”. Herethe report. (sorry, only available in English).
What is the value of communities beyond measured gross domestic product per inhabitant? This question is very topical after the financial crisis. After all, public finances depend entirely on what communities generate. Together. Against each other. For each other?

In economics and business are Human capital and Opportunity costs Although known as measurement factors, they are rarely used in practice. Activists often complain about the lack of evaluation of so-called “soft” factors such as culture, religion, neighborhood and social networks, but so far no alternative measurement and evaluation methods have emerged from this.

A small town gallery in Staufen, Baden. Brings the pedestrian zone to life. Prevents vacancy. Forms and connects.

With a focus on the measurement, evaluation and development of Social capital the Basel Institute for Common Goods and Economic Research offers an innovative combination of economic and social research. On the previous definition of social capital, there is an article by Urs Birchmeier (PDF) from SECO (State Secretariat for Economic Affairs) from 2002.
The OECD presented 2004 fixed(PDF) , research on social capital is still in progress Early stage. Our colleague Renée Steffen, who studies sociology at the University of Lucerne, offers here (PDF) a short and current introduction to the term.
Dr. Ingo Rollwagen from Deutsche Bank Research (DB Research) published one in 2007 Working paper on social capital (PDF), in which he presented the following formula: human capital + social capital = economic growth.
The 2009 published Stiglitz Fitoussi Report (PDF) to the EU Commission

the term social capital 41 times, but no longer sees it as a separate economic factor.
It seems that the broad definition of social capital as the value of social network relationships of any kind is a limitation of the term
- and thus the basis for empirical measurability has become impossible.

Three aspects should be mentioned when evaluating social capital:

1.) Gifts and volunteering. What do people offer to other people outside the family without the right to immediate consideration? That doesn't just apply charity, but at least as much music and street life, hospitality and courtesy, religion and the so-called public goods (public goods / commons) that cannot be financed without the voluntary contribution of citizens.

2.) trust. How much do members of communities trust others inside and outside the community? How do you rate their social stability? Since the Vote of confidence very intimate and its answer is not without consequences, it cannot be asked of the individual. It must therefore be circumvented and circumscribed, which opens up room for interpretation.

3.) Value to the community. Many successful social networks limit the entire non-monetary service and their engagement to the members of their lobby, their clan, their clan. Mostly, however, this damages the community both regionally and internationally. An isolated consideration of social capital as the value of social networks therefore does not offer a starting point for determining national or even international social capital.

This clear definition makes it possible to describe very different areas of society, such as religion, traffic, security, health and culture, cooperatives, communities, associations and initiatives, companies and associations, under one common aspect.
The research and description of social capital itself becomes part of social capital. We researchers do not describe an object that is separate from us, but are part of the community ourselves, which is developing further through our work.

With this in mind, I wish you an inspiring reading of our offers here on the Internet!

Your Alexander Dill

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admin on July 17th 2010

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