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SPP 358

Author: Richard Rose
Description: Theories, hypotheses and measures of social capital are reviewed here in order to determine the impact, or lack of impact, of this protean term on health. Three different approaches to social capital are considered: diffuse formal and informal networks; situational and instrumental networks; and social psychological trust. The paper shows how measures differ, and presents empirical results from measures developed through a special-purpose social capital survey in the Russian Federation. It tests the impact of varied social capital measures on self-assessed physical and emotional health. While Russia is far from Tocqueville's United States, so the latter country is unsuitable for generalizing about many developing and low income countries which are incompletely democratic and where formal organizations can be corrupt or untrustworthy, with the consequence that informal networks can be used as insulation against formal networks or to subvert them.

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