What determines social capital in a social-ecological system? Insights from a network perspective

Barnes-Mauthe, Michele, Gray, Steven Allen, Arita, Shawn, Lynham, John, and Leung, PingSun (2015) What determines social capital in a social-ecological system? Insights from a network perspective. Environmental Management, 55 (2). pp. 392-410.

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Abstract

Social capital is an important resource that can be mobilized for purposive action or competitive gain. The distribution of social capital in social–ecological systems can determine who is more productive at extracting ecological resources and who emerges as influential in guiding their management, thereby empowering some while disempowering others. Despite its importance, the factors that contribute to variation in social capital among individuals have not been widely studied. We adopt a network perspective to examine what determines social capital among individuals in social–ecological systems. We begin by identifying network measures of social capital relevant for individuals in this context, and review existing evidence concerning their determinants. Using a complete social network dataset from Hawaii's longline fishery, we employ social network analysis and other statistical methods to empirically estimate these measures and determine the extent to which individual stakeholder attributes explain variation within them. We find that ethnicity is the strongest predictor of social capital. Measures of human capital (i.e., education, experience), years living in the community, and information-sharing attitudes are also important. Surprisingly, we find that when controlling for other factors, industry leaders and formal fishery representatives are generally not well connected. Our results offer new quantitative insights on the relationship between stakeholder diversity, social networks, and social capital in a coupled social–ecological system, which can aid in identifying barriers and opportunities for action to overcome resource management problems. Our results also have implications for achieving resource governance that is not only ecologically and economically sustainable, but also equitable.

Item ID: 42298
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: social networks, social capital, human capital, ethnic diversity, stakeholder attributes, natural resource management
ISSN: 1432-1009
Funders: US National Science Foundation, Pelagic Fisheries Research Program
Projects and Grants: GEO-1211972
Date Deposited: 10 Feb 2016 23:05
FoR Codes: 16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1608 Sociology > 160802 Environmental Sociology @ 40%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050209 Natural Resource Management @ 60%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970105 Expanding Knowledge in the Environmental Sciences @ 25%
95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9599 Other Cultural Understanding > 959999 Cultural Understanding not elsewhere classified @ 25%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9606 Environmental and Natural Resource Evaluation > 960604 Environmental Management Systems @ 50%
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