Social capital across the life course: Accumulation, diminution, or segregation?

Beate Volker
2020 Network Science  
AbstractThis study examines changes in individual social capital during adult life within a 19-year period. Social capital theory and life course theory are combined, and it is argued that changes in social networks do not necessarily go together with changes in social capital: while personal networks are known to decline in size with age, social capital can be expected to accumulate, in particular for those who had a better starting position and therefore more resources to share. Panel data
more » ... hare. Panel data from the survey of the social networks of the Dutch (SSND) (1999–2018) at four points of measurement are employed to inquire into this argument. Social capital is measured by the position generator instrument, and three indicators, that is, resource extensity, mean prestige access, and resource range are analyzed. Results of fixed effect models show that, on average, people maintain access to social capital, and that men and higher educated gain social capital through their life as opposed to women and lower educated. Implications for the understanding of the reproduction of social inequality are discussed. The paper concludes with a reflection upon the value of ego-centered network analysis in the era of big data and data science.
doi:10.1017/nws.2020.26 fatcat:4l76cli6mzeljaw5lt5wrcdkdq