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Contents | 1. Social capital | 2. Resources

2. Resources and links

The resources and links here provide an introduction to social capital and its measurement, (particularly from an Australian perspective), and are grouped into the following areas:

Conceptual frameworks
Related issues and frameworks
Australian surveys and projects
New Zealand, USA, UK, Canada and other places
Writings - Putnam, Cox, Fukuyama
Further reading, bibliographies, literature reviews

Conceptual Frameworks

1.Social Capital and public policy in Australian - Major themes and debates in the social capital literature: The Australian Connection, Ian Winter Chapter 2 in Social Capital and public policy in Australia (2000), edited by Ian Winter, Australian Institute of Family Studies available from the AIFS. A useful overview of the major conceptual issues.

2. Towards and theorised understanding of family life and social capital, (2000) Ian Winter. Families are typically thought of as the wellspring of civil society and an important source of social capital. The aim of this Working Paper is to bring the relationship between families and social capital under some scrutiny. The paper defines the concept of social capital and reviews the literature on social capital within and beyond family networks.

3. Social Capital: The missing link Christian Grootaert (World Bank). SCI Working Paper No. 3, April 1998. It has now become recognized that the "traditional" types of capital (natural, physical and human) determine only partially the process of economic growth because they overlook the way in which the economic actors interact and organize themselves to generate growth and development. The missing link is social capital

4. Measuring social capital towards a theoretically informed measurement framework for researching social capital in family and community life (2001), Wendy Stone. Is is available as a PDF version. This publication provides a review of measurement tools and a theoretical framework for future social capital research.

Related issues & frameworks

5. Indicators of Social and Family FunctioningPDF (2000), Zubrick, Williams and Silburn. This report proposes a framework for indicators of social and family functioning centred on outcomes for child health and well-being. It introduces a new instrument for the measurement of indicators comprising a set of items and scales to derive indicators.

6. Measuring well-being: Material progress and quality of life (2000), Richard Ecklersley. Keynote address to the Made to Measure Conference, NCOSS, October 1999. This paper addresses the question of whether life is getting better or worse. By ‘life' I mean quality of life for most people living in Australia. More specifically it deals with the relationships between material progress and quality of life. How we answer the question has an important bearing on social welfare and policy.

7. Community formation and social capital in Australia , Dimitria Giorgas. This paper explores ethnic community formation and social capital among six groups: Germans, Dutch, Hungarians, Poles, Italians and Greeks. It argues that social capital within the family is particularly important in overcoming deficiencies in other forms of capital; although it can only be successfully utilised when close relations exist between parents and children. Thus cultures that place greater emphasis on the family and are collectivist in nature, such as Greeks and Italians, are more likely to utilise social capital. In contrast cultures that have an individualistic focus, for example, Germans and Hungarians, are more likely to under-invest in social capital.

8. Social Capital: Reviewing the Concept and its Policy Implications
Productivity Commission Research Paper released on 25 July 2003, 100pp. Contents include The conceptual literature on social capital; The empirical evidence on social capital;
Social capital and policy analysis; Some policy ideas aimed at enhancing social capital.

9. The Interrelations of Social Capital with Health and Mental Health, Discussion Paper Michelle Cullen Harvey Whiteford, National Mental Health Strategy 2001

1. Introduction
2. Social Capital definitions and framework
3. Social capital, health and mental health
4. Measurement
5. Conclusion

Australian surveys and projects

A National Australian Survey - the Australian Institute of Family Studies

10. The Families, Social Capital and Citizenship project (2000-2002) aimed to examine levels of social capital associated with varying family circumstances and to assess the importance of social capital in shaping patterns of family engagement with the economy, polity and community.

The project aimed to test the ‘social capital thesis' by exploring the relative importance of different elements of social capital (trust, reciprocity, networks) to different sorts of family engagement outcomes.

Data for the project was collected from a national random sample of around 2,000 adults via telephone, during December 2000 and January 2001. The survey collected information about the family's activities within and beyond the household and within and beyond the locality.

The project summary contains further information and contact details. Some papers from the study:

11. Families, social capital and citizenship project: fieldwork report (2002), by J. Hughes and W. Stone. (PDF 56K) This paper provides details of the survey process, responses, etc.

12. Social capital at work How family, friends and civic ties relate to labour market outcomes by Wendy Stone, Matthew Gray and Jody Hughes Australian Institute of Family Studies, April 2003, 34p, ISBN 0 642 39501 2. ISSN 1446-9863 (Print); ISSN 1446-9871 (Online). This paper investigates the extent to which an individual's 'stock' of social capital relates to labour force outcomes, over and above more well established determinants.

13. Social capital: empirical meaning and measurement validity
by Wendy Stone and Jody Hughes, Australian Institute of Family Studies, June 2002, 64p, ISBN 0 642 39494 6. ISSN 1446-9863 (Print); ISSN 1446-9871 (Online). This paper aims to contribute to the development of theoretically based and empirically valid measures of social capital that can be applied in future work.

Measuring Social Capital in Five Communities in NSW

One of the first attempts to measure social capital was the study "Measuring Social Capital in five Communities in NSW".

14. Measuring Social Capital in Five Communities in NSW.(1998,2005) The summary provides a brief overview of the study The full report Measuring Social Capital in Five Communities in NSW A Practitioner's Guide (101pp) is available for on-line purchase and download for A$20.00.

15. Measuring Social Capital in five Communities in NSW, Onyx and Bullen - Journal of Applied Behavior Science, Vol 36 No 1 March 2000 pp23-42.

16. Social Capital Questionnaire - Five Communities in NSW - Best 36 questions This PDF file has the fully text of the 36 best questions and response codes from the five communities study. If you use the questionnaire please acknowledge its source.

Measuring Social Capital - Family Support Services and Neighbourhood and Community Centres in NSW

17. Social Capital: Family Support Services and Neighbourhood and Community Centres (1999,2005) Available for on-line purchase and download for A$15.00. This paper has been prepared for Family Support Services and Neighbourhood and Community Centres in New South Wales, Australia, to encourage discussion and reflection on service delivery and community development. The paper uses data from Family Support Services' and Neighbourhood and Community Centres' censuses and other literature and studies. First published April 1999. It has been revised and expanded in 2005 and is now available in a PDF version for purchase and download. The 2005 edition has been expanded to include question by question data for the 31 social capital questions for fourteen communities and groups included in the three studies so that it is possible for community organisations and services to use the data for comparative purposes.

18. The questionnaire was used with group participants in family support services . It includes some questions on client background, perceptions of the group, life situation and social capital.

19. This questionnaire was used with staff in family support services. as part of a study into social capital. It includes questions on staff background and work experience as well as life experience and social capital.

20. Social Capital and Community Development in new release areas in the Wyong Shire (Warnervale/Wadalba), NSW

This was a three year study 2000-2002 examining the relationship between social capital and community development. The specific questions were:

  • What happens within the social fabric in these new release areas over time.
  • What are the connections between the community development initiatives and the social fabric?
  • Does the community development make a difference?
  • To what extent are the goals of the community development initiatives achieved?
  • What community development initiatives are useful in building social capital?
  • What can be learnt from the community development and research initiatives that would be useful to other communities?

The research included interviews, focus groups, questionnaires, etc.

There is overwhelming evidence in this study that community development activities and strategies impact on the community's social capital

The Project
The research questions
The findings
Pictures of the community
Report and Survey forms

21. Measuring and enhancing community capacity in outback NSW: the case of Broken Hill.

The project is exploring the necessary conditions for rural renewal through intensive analysis of social capital formation and mobilisation in the outback community of Broken Hiull in NSW. The study includes a multidimensional analysis of social capital at the micro and macro levels in Broken Hill, in relation to cross-sector collaboration, interaction with economic, human and ecological factors, the role of community organisations and the social entrepreneur. The project is being undertaken by the Broken Hill community and the University of Technology Sydney in partnership with Commonwealth Dept of Family and Community Services. ContactJenny Onyx for details.

22. Social capital meta-analysis using the questions and scales developed in the study Measuring Social Capital in Five Communities in New South Wales.

The questions used in the study Measuring Social Capital in Five Communities in NSW have been used widely used in the state of NSW, elsewhere in Australia and internationally. Paul Bullen and Jenny Onyx (who both worked on the original study) have undertaken a meta-analysis using multiple data sets from a variety of studies. The meta-analysis includes some exploratory structural equation modelling exploring cuasual connections between the factors.

Details of the Path Models and the analysis on which they are based in the Discussion Paper Social capital factors : Plausible through about causal relationships. PDF

Contact Paul Bullen for further details.

22A. Longitudinal Survey of Australian Youth

Using annual telephone interviews, the Longitudinal Surveys of Australian Youth (LSAY) project studies the progress of several groups of young Australians as they move from school into post-secondary education and work. The oldest group in the project comprised people born in 1961; the youngest group comprises people born between 1 May 1987 and 30 April 1988.

Social capital questions were included in 2004 and 2005 surveys (for YO3). 51 social capital items were administerd to a sub-sample of 2502 individuals in 2004 and a reduced set of 47 items were asked of the 8750 respondents in 2005. There are also plans to include questions in the 2006 surveys.

The Longitudinal Survey of Australian Youth Home Page

Creating Better Communities - social capital creation

23. Creating better communities PDF- The University of Sydney and The Benevolent Society undertook a three year research project on social capital creation. The study, called "Creating Better Communities", is jointly funded by the Australian Research Council and The Benevolent Society. It focuses on building practical knowledge about how social capital is created and how social capital enables positive change in communities affected by rapid social and economic change.

Working papers from CACOM (Centre for Australian Community Organisations and Management)

24. Measuring Social Capital in Five Communities in NSW: An Analysis.(No 41) December 1997. Jenny Onxy and Paul Bullen

25. Rural Renewal and Social Capital: The Case of Sweden and Australia (No 46). November 2000. Jenny Onyx and Rosemary Leonard

26. Social Capital: the relative use of strong and loose network ties (No 49). April 2001. Jenny Onyx and Rosemary Leonard.

27. Social Capital: A Rural Youth Perspective (No 64) June 2005
Jenny Onyx, Craig Wood, Paul Bullen, Lynelle Osburn

28. Maleny: Social Capital and the Development Paradox (No 70) December 2005 Melissa Edwards, Jenny Onyx, Ann Dale

29. Developing Social Capital Among Older Ethnic Communities (A Masters Degree Project) (No 73) January 2006 Andrea Otto, Jenny Onyx

These Working Papers can be ordered directly from CACOM. CACOM's contact details

International Consortium for Mental Health Policy and Services - Mental health policy template.

29A. Policy template Correlations between social capital and health outcomes have been researched. There is good evidence that more socially cohesive societies are healthier with lower mortality....In terms of mental health, little work has been done to specifically explore how it may interface independently with social capital, although this body of knowledge is growing.

Crime and Social Capital

30. Crime and Social Capital (Australian Crime Prevention Council, 19th Biennial International Conference on Preventing Crime) Crime and Social Capital (1999), Adam Graycar

Centre for Learning and Research in Regional Australia

31. Social Capital and Trust Some of the papers available are:

  • Social Capital: An analytical tool for exploring lifelong learning and community development Sue Kilpatrick, John Field and Ian Falk
  • Socioeconomic Contributions of Adult Learning to Community: A social capital perspective Jo Balatti and Ian Falk
  • Human and Social Capital: A case study of conceptual colonisation Ian Falk
  • Support Networks and Trust: How social capital facilitates learning outcomes for small business S. Kilpatrick
  • What is Social Capital? A study of interaction in a rural Community. I. Falk & S. Kilpatrick
  • Indicators of Social Capital: Social capital as the product of local interactive learning processes

Social Capital Stories

32. Social capital stories, How 12 Australian Households Live their LivesPDF. Martin Stewart-Weeks and Charles Richardson. The Centre for Independent Studies, Policy Monograph 42. Based on a series of interviews with 12 households across New South Wales, this book offers an in-depth look at social capital in NSW.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics

33. The ABS Social Capital Theme Page provides an up to date reference to the progress of the ABS social capital project - including the development of a social capital statistical framework. Papers available from this site include:

  • Discussion Paper: Measuring Social Capital: Current Collections and Future Directions
  • Social Capital and Social Wellbeing
  • Revised ABS Social Capital Framework

34. The 2004 Paper 1378.0 Information Paper: Measuring Social Capital - An Australian Framework and Indicators is available free from the ABS.

35. Social Capital and Community Well-Being (2002) (discussion paper) This paper provides some background material on social capital. It then discusses how social capital may enlarge our understanding of society and social well being. The paper provides a summary of how the stakeholders which the ABS has consulted consider that the measurement of social capital may inform policy in their area of responsibility, and the types of policy questions that measures of social capital may help to answer and the ways in which policy initiatives may impact on social capital. The paper also draws on examples from the literature of how levels of social capital may contribute to particular outcomes in a range of areas of well being.

New Zealand

Statistics New Zealand

36. Statistics New Zealand, New Zealand's official statistical agency.
Framework for the Measurement of Social Capital in New Zealand

For several years, social capital has been of interest in New Zealand. In particular, central and local government have recognised that an understanding of social capital may contribute to a broader analysis of policy options and issues. Relevant policy areas are varied - from education, health and justice, to industrial development, productivity and economic growth. This document suggests a framework for the measurement of social capital in New Zealand.


A US Survey - The Social Capital Community Benchmark Survey

37. This Social Capital Community Benchmark Survey is a major survey. The US national sample consisted of 3000 respondents. In addition, local community samples were surveyed in 40 communities. Each community sample consisted of at least 500 interviews and the total number of community respondents was 26,200 (29,200 respondents in all).

The survey asked questions about various "dimensions" of social capital. Everything from: 1) levels of informal socializing with others neighbors, close friends, etc.) 2) to levels of trust of others and trust of government 3) to how diverse people's social networks are (bridging SK) 4) to what types of organizations people are active in 5) to volunteering and philanthropy 6) to work-based social connectedness 7) to levels of family contact 8) to political engagement 9) to use of the Internet 10) to religious participation.

The survey instrument and findings are available on the Social Capital Community Benchmark Survey web site.


38. UK National Statistics work includes: the ONS Social Capital Project which aims to develop and promote a more consistent approach to the measurement of social capital and to produce analytical articles on social capital; Community Well Being Domain Group within Neighbourhood Statistics; Interactive Question Bank.

39. Social Capital Question Bank There are many ways of measuring social capital. The Social Capital Question Bank is based on the ONS survey matrix (117 Kb )developed in 2001, and contains related questions from 15 major government and non-government surveys. It uses the same themes as the original matrix and allows users to see the actual wording of questions. The matrix is divided into accessible, interactive blocks linked together through the matrix grid.The Social Capital Question Bank is intended as a reference tool for people interested in examining or using social capital questions.


40. Social Capital as a Public Policy Tool. This project is being undertaken by the Policy Research Initiative and is designed to: understand the potential of social capital to affect public policy outcomes in Canada; develop and build consensus around an analytical and measurement framework that will have practical applications for various federal policy departments; and
transfer lessons learned and policy recommendations to key players in the policy and research communities. Social capital workshop report findings

41. Measurement of Social Capital Reference Document for Public Policy Research, Development, and Evaluation September 2005

  • Part 1 provides an overview of the measurement of
    social capital in the public sector
  • Part 2 proposes a useful operational framework for
    public policy that corresponds with this approach.
  • Part 3 looks at the advantages and limitations
    of various methodological strategies, both
    quantitative and qualitative, for examining social
    capital in the context of public policy, with an
    emphasis on potential applications in Canada.
  • Part 4 discusses the various ways in which
    social capital can be used as a public policy tool.

42. Measurement of Social Capital: the Canadian Experience
Prepared by: Cindy-Ann Bryant and Doug Norris Statistics Canada
August 2002. Prepared as a country report for the OECD – UK ONS International Conference on Social Capital Measurement in London, 25-27 September.

Other Places

Other measurement tools and approaches

43. Social Capital Assessment Tool, Anirudh Krishna and Elizabeth Shrader , prepared for the Conference on Social Capital and Poverty Reduction, The World Bank, Washington, D.C. June 22-24, 1999. Part I of this paper reviews the measurement literature, while Part II presents a set of tools that are being developed in response to a demand for a uniform methodology.

44. Global Social Capital Survey This Global Social Capital Survey, which includes questions on: groups and networks; subjective well-being; political engagement; sociability and everyday social interactions; community activities; relations with government; identity; violence and crime; communications; and demographics, was conducted in Uganda (and a similar version in Ghana) during 1998-99. It was designed by Deepa Narayan, Principal Social Development Specialist in the Poverty Reduction and Economic Management Network of the World Bank.

45 A Dimension Approach to Measuring Social Capital Deepa Narayan and Michael F Cassidy. Current Sociology Vol 49 No 2. Includes a review of methodological studies, presentation of research and a recommended set of core questions for measuring social capital

46. What does social capital add to individual welfare? An empirical analysis of Russia, Richard Rose (Centre for the Study of Public Policy, University of Strathclyde Glasgow). SCI Working Paper No. 15. The purpose of this paper is to test the instrumental significance of social capital empirically. It first sets out alternative models of the production of welfare, starting with familiar human capital indicators such as education; moving to familiar measures of social integration such as organizational membership; and thirdly considering novel social capital measures that may add to our understanding. Secondly, the paper presents empirical survey-based data about social capital networks in Russia.

47. Measuring Social Capital: An Integrated Questionnaire (PDF), 250 KB] Christiaan Grootaert, Deepa Narayan, Michael Woolcock, and Veronica Nyhan-Jones. The purpose of this paper is to introduce —the Integrated Questionnaire for the Measurement of Social Capital (SC-IQ)—with a focus on applications in developing countries. The tool aims to generate quantitative data on various dimensions of social capital as part of a larger household survey (such as the Living Standards Measurement Survey or a household income/expenditure survey). Specifically, six dimensions are considered: groups and networks; trust and solidarity; collective action and cooperation; information and communication; social cohesion and inclusion; empowerment and political action. The paper addresses sampling and data collection issues for implementing the SC-IQ and provides guidance for the use and analysis of data. The tool has been pilot-tested in Albania and Nigeria and a review of lessons learned is presented.

Writings - Putnam, Cox, Fukuyama

48. A Truly Civil Society, The 1995 Boyer Lectures, Eva Cox The 1995 Boyer Lectures were the beginning of public discussion of Social Capital in Australia. Social capital refers to the processes between people which establish networks, norms, social trust and facilitate co-ordination and cooperation for mutual benefit. These processes are also know as social fabric or glue.

  • Lecture 1 Broadening the Views
  • Lecture 2 Raising Social Capital
  • Lecture 3 The dark side of the warm inner glow: Family and communitarians
  • Lecture 4 The Companionable State
  • Lecture 5 Change Diversity and Dissent
  • Lecture 6 Towards a Utopian Road Movie

49. The Prosperous Community Social Capital and Public Life by Robert D. Putnam. Lessons from an Italian Experiment. Beginning in 1970, Italians established a nationwide set of potentially powerful regional governments. These 20 new institutions were virtually identical in form, but the social, economic, political, and cultural contexts in which they were implanted differed dramatically, ranging rom the pre industrial to the postindustrial, from the devoutly Catholic to the ardently Communist, from the inertly feudal to the frenetically modern. Just as a botanist might investigate plant development by measuring the growth of genetically identical seeds sown in different plots, we sought to understand government performance by studying how these new institutions evolved in their diverse settings......These communities did not become civic simply because they were rich. The historical record strongly suggests precisely the opposite: They have become rich because they were civic.

50. Social Capital and Civil Society Francis Fukuyama, The Institute of Public Policy, George Mason University. Social capital is important to the efficient functioning of modern economies, and is the sine qua non of stable liberal democracy. It constitutes the cultural component of modern societies, which in other respects have been organized since the Enlightenment on the basis of formal institutions, the rule of law, and rationality. Building social capital has typically been seen as a task for "second generation" economic reform; but unlike economic policies or even economic institutions, social capital cannot be so easily created or shaped by public policy. This paper will define social capital, explore its economic and political functions, as well as its origins, and make some suggestions for how it can be cultivated.

Further reading, bibliographies, literature reviews

51. Social Capital Gateway Resources for the Study of Social Capital Edited by Fabio Sabatini University of Rome La Sapienza and University of Cassino Social Capital Gateway (formerly known as Capitale is a personal, non profit, initiative. Its goals are:

  • Providing useful resources for researchers, teachers, students, and practitioners interested in the study of social capital and other related topics, like poverty and development.
  • Promoting discussion and ideas exchange on these topics.

53. The Policy Implications of Social Capital (408kb PDF), published by the National Economic and Social Forum in Ireland. A key challenge for Ireland in the 21st Century is to identify and harness the strength of community ties and resources in contributing towards a just and harmonious society. This report seeks to place active citizenship at the core of the Forum’s statement of broad values and principles for a just and inclusive society.

54. Social Capital Assessment Tool Web Site - This site provides resources to researchers and practitioners interested in understanding and using social capital to reduce poverty and ensure more sustainable development. The site presents the results of two major World Bank programs, the Social Capital Initiative and the Local Level Institutions Study. In addition to presenting the results of several empirical studies on the role of social capital in development, the site also offers a conceptual discussion, literature reviews, and a set of measurement and analysis tools.

55. Social Capital: Conceptual Frameworks and Empirical Evidence--An Annotated Bibliography (PDF File, 158KB) by Tine Rossing Feldman and Susan Assaf (World Bank). SCI Working Paper No. 5, January 1999. This paper reviews the major contribution to the conceptual and empirical literature on social capital and offers more than 30 summaries of seminal works.

57. Social Capital: Literature Review Published by National Statistics (UK) available for downloading in PDF format.


58. A useful site for social capital resources and background information is the World Bank's Social Capital Site. It includes numerous articles and a discussion group.