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Do Families "Invest" in Social Capital?

Archived Abstract of Former PSC Researcher

Hofferth, Sandra, Johanne Boisjoly, and Greg J. Duncan. "Do Families "Invest" in Social Capital?" PSC Research Report No. 95-353. 9 1995.

This paper investigates whether a family's access to social capital--defined here as perceived access to time and money help in an emergency from kin and friends--depends upon the family's past time and money investments in those kin and friends. It also examines the potential trade-offs between money and time help from friends and relatives. Data come from parents of children under age 18 who responded to a supplement on time and money assistance included in the 1980 wave of the Panel Study of Income Dynamics. Results suggest that while parents who invest in friend-based help networks have greater potential access to assistance, there is no significant link between investment in family and access to family-based assistance. Thus, while exchange describes social-capital linkages to friends, it does not describe family-based behaviors. Other findings are that time and money appear to be complements while investments in friends or family are substitutes.

Dataset(s): Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID): U.S., 1980.

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