Social Capital of Farmers and Retailers in the Tropics



Measuring Individual Social Capital and Estimating Its Returns in Small-Scale Communities of Farmers and Retailers in the Tropics

Is there a link between an actor's social capital and that individual's economic performance? This study seeks to create a three-dimensional capital space and calculate a social capital coordinate vector for each actor within that space. Questionnaires have been administered among households living in small communities in Ivory Coast, Papua New Guinea, Tanzania and Vietnam.

First of all, the main structure of this space is found to be much the same across countries. The three dimensions or attributes of the social capital structuring the space are, in descending order of importance: i) Social exclusion, ii) Trust and behaviours and iii) Collective action.

Secondly, we show how actors and subgroups of actors are located in this space in the light of their socio-demographic (religion, ethnicity, indigenous status) and economic (size of farmed land) characteristics in line with a series of solar systems that may nonetheless be overlapping within the same galaxy.

Thirdly, an examination is made of two kinds of occupations accounting for a large majority of the workforce in these countries: family farming and micro and small enterprises.

We will show that, all other things being equal, an actor's level of productivity rises according to the individual's trust in the members of the community and the individual and community involvement in collective actions. Being a member of an organisation (cooperative, diaspora) is also conducive to an actor's productivity and access to formal credit.

Key words: Social capital measurement, family farming and small business, economic performance, formal and informal credit access, meta-analysis.



About This Paper

Working paper written January 2016. Collaboration between Mars Catalyst / Economics of Mutuality and Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne.

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Please note: the paper’s photograph is illustrative and does not directly portray the subject matter.