A typology for understanding the connections among different forms of social capital

Jennifer L. Glanville, Elisa Jayne Bienenstock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


Critics have argued that the term social capital is too vague or general to be a useful concept. Recognizing the need for clarification, the authors distill the conceptual discussions about social capital to argue that there are three components-network structure, trust and reciprocity, and resources-that are associated with but vary in degree and salience for all forms of social capital. These three components should be considered continua along which the forms of social capital can vary. A fourth continuum is between micro and macro levels of social capital. Locating particular examples of social capital along these continua opens the possibility to compare different types of social capital and to develop and test theories about how they are related to each other. The authors also describe a simulation study to illustrate how simulation can facilitate understanding of the linkages among different forms of social capital.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1507-1530
Number of pages24
JournalAmerican Behavioral Scientist
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jul 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Reciprocity
  • Simulation
  • Social capital
  • Social networks
  • Trust

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Education
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Sciences(all)


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