Working Paper No. 105. Arnošt Veselý (2006). Reproduction of Social Capital: How Much and What Type of Social Capital Is Transmitted from Parents to Children?

Abstract: The article analyzes the extent of the transmission of social capital from parents to their children. Three measures of social capital are used: social trust, participation in social activities and useful social connections. The data from the longitudinal extension of the PISA collected in the Czech Republic in 2003 are used. First, bivariate correlations of three types of social capital are analyzed. Second, using logistic regression, four theoretical models (the social capital model, the family background model, the personality model and the contextual model) are tested. As dependent variables we use the social trust of fifteen-year-olds and their participation in four types of extra-curricular activities. The analysis reveals only a weak intergenerational transmission of the same social capital types (“intergenerational line-up”) and almost no intergenerational transmission of different social capital types (“intergenerational cross-over”). No theoretical model is particularly strong in explaining the social trust of children. The social trust of youths remains largely unexplained and is created irrespectively of family cultural and financial capital. Conversely, participation in extra-curricular activities is highly socially stratified. It is substantially better predicted by all theoretical models, though their effect is dependent upon the activity at stake. The author concludes that social capital is comprised of several different forms of capital, which are only distantly related. The finding that family background has a relatively weak impact on children’s social trust but a strong effect on their participation of extra-curricular activities has profound implications for public policy.