In this contribution we start from the emerging consensus on the widely disputed phenomenon of social capital. We propose to focus on structural aspects of social capital: formal (contacts within formal organizations) and informal (contacts outside of formal organizations). First, we address methodological questions on the cross-national equivalence of these social capital measurements. Second, we re-visit substantive questions on the patterns of relationships in different European countries. In particular, we inquire to which degree formal and informal social capital can substitute each other, as well as being complementary. We take advantage of recent Eurobaromer data (2004) containing a wide range of valid measurements on both structural aspects of social capital. We find strong evidence for cross-national equivalent measurements regarding formal social capital, employing probabilistic scalogram analyses. For informal social capital, we find strong evidence for configural and metric invariance as well as evidence for partial scalar invariance, employing multi group confirmatory factor analyses. We have to reject the substantive hypothesis on substitution of formal and informal social capital for all countries under consideration, except for Romania. We corroborate the hypothesis on complementarity of formal and informal social capital.
Quality & Quantity – Springer Journals
Published: Aug 25, 2011
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