A wide range evidence onthe cause, effect, definitions and on how to measure social capital. This paperseek to use existing scholarly data to emphasize the results. Social capital asa concept is no new, however most researcher cite Bourdieu 1986 and Coleman1988, which takes a different perceptive than Putnam 2000. There is a conceptualgap among scholar in agreeing on a definitive definition of social capital(Bjornskov 2006).
This paper will follows Putnam’s definition “features ofsocial organization, such as trust, norms, and networks that can improve theefficiency of society by facilitating co-ordinated actions” (Putnam, 1993 p.167) . This paper emphasis on two ways tooperationalize illuminating variable social capital in that are in agreementwith most scholarly works; trust of society, community membership andinterpersonal. The way in which trust is measured consist of a collecting ofresponses to questions in the World Values Survey on social and interpersonaltrust to show “trust in the other” (Putnam, 2000, pp. 137). Next considerationof community membership contains the responses people gave to questions abouttheir membership in many groups.
Voter turnout in elections is the dependentvariable. By no means is the only important element in defining democracies,voting is an essential part of participation in the democratic development thatis normally more available and less expensive than other ways of politicalparticipation. Thus, it is significant to understand possible factors of voterturnout that lessen difficulties or raise encouragement. Some scholars havepointed to the impact of social capital on many facets of political life,social, or economic nonetheless few have carefully studied the impact of socialcapital on voter turnout. Voter turnout is a critical feature of democracy.
Theprecise puzzle in this paper is: To what extent does social capital effectvoting? To understand this connection, the paper will study how social capitalimpacts voter turnout globally. The two hypotheses that are shown by previousscholarly works. Hypothesis 1 measure social capital only as communitymembership in their organization, higher levels of social capital do not leadto higher levels of voter turnout in democratic countries. Hypothesis 2 measuresocial capital in societal trust, formal community membership, andinterpersonal higher stages of social capital lead to higher stages of voterturnout in democratic countries.
To testing both hypotheses by using data fromresponses on the World Values Survey (WVS) about community membership alongwith societal, and interpersonal trust as well as percentages of voter turnoutin elections from the International Institute for Democratic and ElectoralAssistance. This paper begins with a debate of current theories of social capitaland its causal mechanisms, the effect that social capital has on politicalparticipation on voter turnout. LiteratureReview and Theory The two explanationson the effect that social capital has on political participation. Fristsuggests that lower levels of social capital lead to greater levels ofpolitical participation within a civic society. Some academics scholarsadvocate that it stems from feelings of criticisms citizens have towards theircommunity (Gurr, 1970).
Others provide a different connection to explain thesurge in political participation. Critical citizen theory, these sets ofscholars argue that political participation increases when people feeldispleased with the performance of their government nonetheless still supportdemocratic principles (Dalton and Welzel, 2015). But feelings of disapprovalabout the performance of government are not always said to be an element ofincreased political participation. Political participation increases aspolitical trust, and other factors, increases within a society (Almond , 1963). As citizens feel more assured that they can give and make adifference within their communities this stems from a feeling of politicalefficacy. Others have used social capital to explain economic performance (Putnam,1993 & Fukuyama, 1995). However Fukuyama emphases on trust whereasBeugelsdijk & Schaik (2005) describe this as a range in which Putnamconcentrations on the system feature of social capital while. They are not theonly ones to query whether only certain features of social capital profitsignificant effects (Bjornskov, 2006).
Furthermore, countless researchersenquiry on the causes and impacts of social capital either as a whole ordisaggregated. This paper discoursespolitical participation generally, by focusing on the effect social capital hasespecially on voter turnout. By theorizing that higher levels of social capitallead to higher levels of voter turnout within 35 democratic countries.Researchers often vary in their operationalization of social capital thoughmaintaining the concepts of community membership, trust and norms.
Focusingonly on two measures of social capital, community membership and trust, thatare similar to measurements used by other scholars in the field (Putnam1993).The results show that as community membership changes, current measurements maybe outdated even though it is a reliable factor used by Putnam. Answers onstudies regarding interpersonal and societal trust, are more likely to reflectcurrent changes by assessing individual feeling rather than communitymembership in existing organizations that change over time. By analyzing thisargument and assessing the impact that community membership only may have onsocial capital. Next by testing social capital through the effect thatinterpersonal and societal trust, and community membership, on voter turnout.Some researchers study social capital to be a way in which systems are able toenforce political participation, especially when it comes to voter turnout(Gerber, Green, & Larimer, 2008).
While other have argued that, as a resultof social capital, information is able to flow more freely which increasespolitical information (Huckfeldt, 1998; Downs, 1957). Additionally, scholarssuggest that an increase in interpersonal trust and membership can lead to anincrease in governmental trust over time (Keele, 2007). Interpersonal andsocietal trust results in higher voter turnout as citizens feel obligated tovote as a means to ensure the social security. The higher levels of trust in asociety improve the need for political participation.Dataand Methods The definition of social capitalworks in two ways.
Hypothesis 1, uses membership in community organizations.Hypothesis 2, define it by stressing stages of interpersonal and societal trustin the explanation of social capital. Questions from Wave 5 of the World ValuesSurvey (WVS), which is done on a global scale in opinion surveys. Cases consistof 35 democratic states in Wave 5 of the WVS with a score of 1-5 on the FreedomHouse Index. Voter Turnout To measure voterturnout, data is used from a voter turnout study compiled by the InternationalInstitute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA).
It gives voter turnoutpercentages for all of the states used in this paper centered on voting agepopulation and percentage of registered voters from elections. The registeredvoters registration of that country is given in percentage and of those thatvoted in countries elections Social Capital To measure social capital, data is collectedon interpersonal and societal trust and community membership in 35 democraticstate from Wave 5 of the WVS. Data oninterpersonal and societal trust and membership from 2005-2009, and voter turnoutdata from 2013 to 2017.
Questions from the WVSon community membership and societal, and interpersonal trust. Each question is coded on 0-1 scale, 0representing non community membership or trust and 1 showing full membership ortrust. Community membership, 0 for those that are not members, and 1 for activemembers. Greater mean scores relate to higher levels of community membership. Two groups arecategorize: community membership and trust. A least squares (OLS) regression isdone to test the impact on voter turnout, first testing community membershipand second societal and interpersonal trust.
Freedom is done through theFreedom House Index, from 1-5; population for each country is collected by theWorld Bank; GDP from the World Bank to show if it impacts voter turnout.Political Trust, ask how confident are citizens in their government.Table1 Global analysis of 35 States Coeff. P Membership 0.0000876 0.407 Comp. Voting 16.
76606 0.004 Freedom 0.4273383 0.793 Population 4.62E-09 0.689 GDP 0.
3171875 0.532 Political Trust 20.76923 0.217 The results relateswith the theory, showing that societal and interpersonal trust shows an impactwhereas community membership does not. This shows that membership cannot definesocial capital.
Table 1 reports mean scores for community membership and voterturnout. The findings show form table 1 shows that there is no fundamentaleffect of membership on voter turnout. Table2 Coeff. P Trust 61.44863 0.029 Membership 0.
0000983 0.329 Comp. Voting 19.38537 0.001 Freedom 1.950301 0.253 Population 6.03E-09 0.
584 GDP 0.06104958 0.226 Political Trust 20.
57472 0.994 Table 2 shows a meanscores for societal and interpersonal trust on voter turnout, with the samecontrol variables as table 1. Table 2 shows a significant impact ofinterpersonal and societal trust on voter turnout. The number of observationsis 35. If interpersonal and societal trust is absent within a nation, we wouldfind a low voter turnout. If citizens have full confidence within theirgovernment, we would find significant levels of voter turnout.
The findings intable 2 are related with my second hypothesis Greater levels of interpersonaland societal trust within a society lead to higher rates of voter turnout.Compulsory voting also has a solid impact on voter turnout as well (Birch2009).The Graph shows theeffect of interpersonal and societal trust which is not explained by controlledvariables on voter turnout. Inconfirming the theory, there is rising slope with sates generally that areclose to the regression line. This confirms the theory, with Japan having thelowest levels of trust and voter turnout whereas Australia, New Zealand, andSweden show the highest levels of societal, and interpersonal trust includingvoter turnout.Ethiopia and Thailandare outsiders, with Ethiopia having greater voter turnout in societal andinterpersonal trust and lower voter turnout in Thailand in the same areas.Thailand and Ethiopia have low levels of freedom according to the Freedom HouseIndex with a score of 2.
Additionally, Thailand shows discrepancy, whichchallenges the theory in this paper cause of their military coup can caused aninconsistence in voter turnout. Voter turnout dropped significantly from2011-2014, which may have been caused a rise in voter turnout.Graph 1 Table3 Coeff. P Trust 37.74645 0.
029 Membership 0.0000983 0.329 Comp. Voting 19.35537 0.001 Freedom 1.950302 0.253 Population 6.
03E-09 0.584 GDP 0.6104958 0.226 Political Trust -1.1362138 0.994 Table 3 indicates achange from Table 2 the way the score for societal and interpersonal trust inJapan, with the lowest levels of trust, as a score of 0 whereas Sweden, whichhas the highest levels of trust, as a score of 1. Table 3 shows that movingfrom low levels of societal and interpersonal trust in Japan to a high level ofsocietal and interpersonal trust in Sweden shows an increase in voter turnout.
The increase in voter turnout essential in Model 2, but Model 3 shows anincrease in voter turnout from the states with the lowest level of trust to thestates with the highest trust has significant impact on voter turnout.The literature reviewheld me in the explanatory theories. The findings suggest that voter turnout isstrongly impacted by the societal and interpersonal trust which are factors ofsocial capital, but not by the community membership.
Table 2 shows increase invoter turnout when a citizens depart from a complete absence of societal andinterpersonal trust to a 100% trust in government. Furthermore the findings intable 3, shows that departing from the state with the lowest levels of trust,Japan to the states with a greater levels of trust, such as Sweden, showed anincrease in voter turnout. This would mean that there are strong consequencesfor Japan and states with low voter turnout.
Clearly improving trust is one wayto increase voter participation. Particularly, building community groups andrelationships in a country can significantly improve voter participation ratein democratic states. While I do don’t expect Japan to increase interpersonaland societal trust to New Zeeland’s levels rapidly, however with even a minorincrease in trust, would show an increase in voter turnout. When the world’spolitical leaders sit down to discuss the way we can improve and make democracystronger, societal and interpersonal trust needed to be an integral part of thediscussion. Membership as no significant impact on voter turnout. This can bemisleading in that some may think that social capital as no meaningful impacton voter turnout rate. However the research on social capital done by Putnamand other scholar are of the opinion that community membership as strong factorin voter participation.
This paper as shown that it’s a combination societaland interpersonal trust that holds a significant factor. Yet, the data in thispaper as limitations, by showing a strong impact of trust on voter turnoutshows the importance of these relationship to voter participation.