Social capital refers to the institutions, relationships, and norms that shape the quality and quantity of a society's social interactions. Increasing evidence shows that social cohesion is critical for societies to prosper economically and for development to be sustainable. Social capital is not just the sum of the institutions which underpin a society – it is the glue that holds them together. Social Capital Concept:
A narrow view of social capital regards it as a set of horizontal associations between people, consisting of social networks and associated norms that have an effect on community productivity and well-being. Social networks can increase productivity by reducing the costs of doing business. Social capital facilitates coordination and cooperation. Vertical and Horizontal Associations
A broader understanding of social capital accounts for both the positive and negative aspects by including vertical as well as horizontal associations between people, and includes behavior within and among organizations, such as firms. This view recognizes that horizontal ties are needed to give communities a sense of identity and common purpose, but also stresses that without "bridging" ties that transcend various social divides (e.g. religion, ethnicity, socio-economic status), horizontal ties can become a basis for the pursuit of narrow interests, and can actively preclude access to information and material resources that would otherwise be of great assistance to the community (e.g. tips about job vacancies, access to credit). Enabling Social and Political Environment
The broadest and most encompassing view of social capital includes the social and political environment that shapes social structure and enables norms to develop. This analysis extends the importance of social capital to the most formalized institutional relationships and structures, such as government, the political regime, the rule of law, the court system,...