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Abstract

Social capital helps reduce adverse shocks by facilitating access to transfers. This study examines how various measures of social capital are associated with disaster recovery from 2008 Sichuan earthquake. We find that households having a larger Spring Festival network in 2008 do better in housing reconstruction. A larger network significantly increases the amount of government aid received for housing reconstruction. With regards to how Spring Festival network channels more government aid to the household, the results show that a larger network increases the number of people showing up to offer monetary and material support, which is linked to more government aid received. This suggests that Spring Festival network members assist the quake-affected households to apply for and obtain government aid. As for other measures of social capital, connections with government officials and communist party membership do not significantly contribute to disaster recovery. Human capital, measured by the years of schooling of household head, is also not positively correlated with housing reconstruction.

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