Comparative studies have generally demonstrated high levels of social capital in the Scandinavian welfare states. It has also been shown that social capital is generally higher among more privileged groups of people than among less privileged groups. However, less is known about how the different types of social inequalities relate to various types of social capital. The aim of this study is to go beyond the generally high Norwegian levels of social capital and study variations of social capital within a representative sample of the Norwegian adult population. The main question is whether and to what extent socio-economic indicators relate to measures of social capital, that is, social trust and civic participation. The data are based on a representative sample of the Norwegian adult population, comprising 3190 individuals.

The results show that, whereas several of the socio-economic indicators are significant with respect to social trust, it is only the level of education that is significant for both types of social capital. These findings show that the associations between socio-economic indicators and social capital vary, based on the measures applied. Nevertheless, the strong associations between education and both social capital outcomes demonstrate that social capital is not equally available to all, emphasising the importance of social policies and societal institutions in building social capital.

Access the study here.

©  Therese Saltkjel and Ira Malmberg-Heimonen


This publication has been prepared within INDIGISE project. The content of this publication is the sole responsibility of the project coordinator and may not always reflect the views of the European Commission or the National Agency.