Position Generator Measures and Their Relationship to Other Social Capital Measures

  • Van der Gaag M
  • Snijders T
  • Flap H
  • 122


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This chapter discusses a number of questions concerning the measures for social capital that can be derived from Position Generator data. One of the key issues regarding its application in prospective research remains the emphasis of such measures on the prestige of occupations as a main representation of social resources. Whereas occupational prestige can be a suitable operationalisation for the study of `big social capital issues' such as status attainment and labour market opportunities, other social capital questions may need di erent methods. For the 1999-2000 Survey on the Social Networks of the Dutch we therefore compare various measures calculated from Position Generator data with measures derived from the the Name generator / interpreter exchange relationship method (Mc- Callister & Fischer, 1978), and the Resource Generator method (Snijders, 1999; Van der Gaag & Snijders, 2004b). Results show that especially Position Generator and Name Generator measures are weakly related. Position Generator data remain the most useful for (comparative) general studies of social capital and instrumental action in particular. However, for the study of returns to specifically expressive or goal speci c actions with social capital, other measurement methods may be more valid, for which a tentative, parsimonious measurement strategy is proposed.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Alternative measurement instruments
  • Indicators
  • Measurement instrument
  • Position generator
  • Position generator data
  • Research question

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