by: Deepa Narayan, Christiaan Grootaert, Veronica Nyhan Jones, Michael Woolcock
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The idea of social capital has enjoyed a remarkable rise to
prominence in both the theoretical and applied social science
literature over the last decade. While lively debate has accompanied
that journey, thereby helping to advance our thinking and clarifying
areas of agreement and disagreement, much still remains to be done.
One approach that could help bring further advances for both
scholars and practitioners is providing a set of empirical tools for
measuring social capital. The purpose of this paper is to introduce
such a tool 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).
The paper also provides detailed guidance for the use and analysis of
the data. In having better empirical information on social capital, the
authors aim is to enable greater dialogue between researchers, policy
makers, task managers, and poor people themselves, ultimately leading
to the design and implementation of more effective poverty reduction
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