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Abstract

If the capital metaphor is to be taken seriously, social capital must focus on sources and not consequences. Human motive is the equivalent of physical capital goods which can perform transformative functions such as creating utility for one person out of the consumption of another and solving free rider problems. The focus on consequences of social capital cannot distinguish a gift motivated by affinity from a goods transfer motivated by moral obligation or promise of selfish gain. Motive is important if we are to understand investment and depreciation in social capital. The paper develops and tests a survey instrument to measure the predominant motive describing the relationships among people in eight Michigan communities with different socio-economic characteristics. Such a social capital account would allow community stocks to be compared and tracked over time.

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