The relationship between social capital welfare and health in South Africa
Von Maltitz, Michael Johan
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This paper is concerned with identifying the effects that seven different categories of network social capital (church groups, financial groups, production groups, private interest groups, service groups and political groups) have on household welfare and poverty, as well as individual self-rated health, as measured at the individual-, household- and community-level. Econometric techniques are employed for this purpose, using household- and individual-level panel data from the KwaZulu-Natal Income Dynamics Study (KIDS). The findings show that various social capital network types affect welfare, poverty and health positively. In particular, higher levels of household financial social capital lead to higher welfare levels among the poor (but not the poores t of the poor), and household service and political social capital cause higher welfare among households in general. Households with more financial and political group social capital are also less likely to be poor, and chronically poor. Individual financial group social capital also raises individual health levels, while better health levels result in increase d service group memberships. Thus, policies aimed at building network social capital, not only among the poor but among households in general, may be particularly useful in achieving poverty alleviation and improvements in health status, including current policies of the Department of Social Development.