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SPP 329

Author: Professor Richard Rose
Description: Some Russians are healthier than others. To what extent does health vary with involvement or exclusion from social capital networks? The first section reviews alternative theories: human capital as the primary determinant; social capital, whether generic, situation-specific or simply a new label for old measures of social integration; or a composite theory--both human and social capital are major determinants of health. The evidence to test hypotheses consists of individual-level data about self-assessed physical and emotional health from the social capital questionnaire in the 1998 New Russia Barometer survey. Multiple regression analysis shows that on their own human capital and social capital each account for notable variance in health. In the composite model, each retains major influence, demonstrating that social capital does make an independent contribution to health. Significant social capital influences include involvement or exclusion from formal and informal networks; friends to rely on when ill; control over one's own life; and trust. Significant human capital influences besides age include subjective social status, gender and income. Estimates of impact show that social capital increases physical and emotional health more than human capital; together they can raise an individual's self-reported health from just below average to approaching good health.

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CSPP School of Government & Public Policy U. of Strathclyde Glasgow G1 1XQ Scotland