Capital Classification Framework

The highlighted component of this framework illustrates the focus of our exploration, which is on the intangible, or human, side of social capital.

Dimension 1: Where the capital exists
  • Individual: one person owns the resource
  • Social: the resource depends on a relationship
Dimension 2: What the capital is
  • Material: a tangible resource
  • Human: an intangible resource

Social Capital Classification Framework

This is the most comprehensive framework we’ve found to classify social capital.

Dimension 1: Social capital form
  • Structural: observable structures and processes
  • Cognitive: subjective values attitudes and beliefs
Dimension 2: Social capital scope
  • Micro: relationships between individuals
  • Meso: groups with hierarchical relationships
  • Macro: institutional structures in society

Discussed in Classifying Social Capital.

Originally proposed in Working Paper 24 of The World Bank Social Capital Initiative.

Other Social Capital Frameworks

Classifying Social Capital in Economic Development

This framework categorizes the academic research on social capital and economic development into four viewpoints. Below we illustrate how the viewpoints overlap with our primary social capital classification framework above.

Communitarian View

Networks View

Institutional View

Synergy View

Classifying Relationships in Social Capital

Social capital is rooted in relationships, and we can classify them into bonding or bridging. (The literature more commonly refers to this as “bonding and bridging social capital.”) Below we illustrate where bonding and bridging relationships typically come into play with the primary social capital classification framework above.

Bonding Relationships

Bridging Relationships