Bridging vs. Bonding Social Capital and the Management of Common Pool Resources

Katherine Baylis, Shun Wang, Yazgen Gong

Research output: Working paper


Social capital can facilitate community governance, but not all social capital is alike. We distinguish bonding social capital (within a village) from bridging social capital (between villages), and we compare their effects on the management of a common pool resource. We develop a theoretical model and show that bonding social capital can improve common pool resource management, while the effect of bridging social capital is mixed. We test these findings using primary data from Yunnan, China on social capital and firewood collection on communal lands. We find that bonding social capital decreases the consumption of the common pool resource, and bridging social capital erodes the effect of bonding. Bridging social capital also decreases the use of the common pool resource by villagers who are near subsistence levels of consumption. Our results are robust to alternative measures of social capital and to treating social capital as endogenous.
Original languageEnglish (US)
PublisherNational Bureau of Economic Research
Number of pages60
StatePublished - Jul 2013

Publication series

NameNBER Working Paper


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