Dissertation Abstracts

Social Capital and Its Relationship with Economic and Social Well-Being of Households: Rural and Urban Experiences in North Gondar, Ethiopia

Author: Enideg, Workneh Nigatie, Worknehn@gmail.com
Department: College of Education Behavioral Studies
University: Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia
Supervisor: Dr. Dawit Mekonnen
Year of completion: 2013
Language of dissertation: English

Keywords: Social capital , economic well-being , social well-being , Ethiopia
Areas of Research: Poverty, Social Welfare and Social Policy , Community Research , Economy and Society


Social capital is a relational resource incorporating social networks, trust, and reciprocity. Among its claimed potentials are enhancing economic and social well-being. Theorists have proposed that such outcomes vary depending on the types of social capital. Ethiopia, being one of the poor countries, may require employing social capital for its economic and social development. Yet, previous studies in Ethiopia have not documented the nature of the different types of social capital and their relevance to economic and social well-being. This study, therefore, investigated the practice and magnitude of the different types of social capital and their respective contributions to economic and social well-being in rural and urban households in north Gondar zone of Amhara region, Ethiopia. Using a concurrent mixed methods design, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 20 participants and 385 randomly selected respondents completed the structured questionnaires. Document reviews and observations were also used. The qualitative data were analyzed using a thematic approach and quantitative data were analyzed using t-test (one sample and independent samples) and linear regression (bivariate and multivariate) analyses. The findings in both rural and urban locations revealed that the three types of social capital are operating and the practice of bridging social capital seemed to be developing due to its socio-economic and socio-religious benefits. However, bonding and linking social capital seemed to be affected by poverty and good governance gaps, respectively. Rural participants’ bonding and linking social capital were significantly lower than their expected means though the reverse was true for bridging social capital. Urban participants’ linking social capital was significantly higher than the expected mean although no significant difference was found for bonding and bridging social capital. Furthermore, bonding social capital was a significant positive predictor of economic and social well-being in both study locations. Bridging social capital was a significant positive predictor of economic well-being in urban locations and that of social well-being in both rural and urban locations. Linking social capital did not show a significant impact on economic and social well-being in both locations. To maximize the benefits of social capital in the lives of people, social work education institutions should integrate social capital into the curricula to help social workers understand, develop, and employ social capital in addressing various social problems and social workers should employ social capital at micro, mezzo, and macro level social work practice. To facilitate the process for understanding and employing social capital, there is a need for assigning responsible government bodies at different administrative levels. To become fully informed about the benefits of social capital in the country, it seems imperative to conduct further research on a broader scope exploring the stock of the types of social capital and their contributions in the lives of the people.

Keywords: Social capital, bonding, bridging, linking, economic well-being, social well-being, household, rural, urban, north Gondar, Ethiopia

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