Social capital is often seen as providing advantages for the individual members of the relevant network (for example in facilitating access to better jobs). But it may also have wider social benefits, for example; by providing social support for those in need; or by fostering social trust (which can reduce ‘transaction costs’ in many spheres of life) and might thus be a wider ‘public good’. More generally, social connections are closely associated with people’s subjective sense of well-being. Given these societal and individual benefits, it is important to consider the distribution of social capital among different groups in society and whether we are levels of social capital are declining. Do we still get involved with the community and volunteer? Is there any evidence to suggest that we are becoming lonelier and less trusting over time?
Our first report, published in March 2015, concentrates on the question of decline CSI 8: Are we getting lonelier and less civic?
Our second report, new in November 2015, extends these finding to cover more detail about types of social capital and the way it is unevenly distributed throughout society CSI 15: The uneven distribution and decline of social capital in Britain