How You Measure Matters: Defining Social Capital in Drought-prone Areas
Social capital, or social connections that a household possesses that can provide support and access to resources, is an important indicator to consider when assessing one's ability to withstand shocks and stressors. This study seeks to operationalize social capital within the context of two disaster-prone settings – Burkina Faso and Niger. Burkina Faso and Niger are two landlocked countries located in the Sahel region of West Africa. They are prone to frequent stressors including drought, flooding, and insect invasions. Secondary data from a representative cross-sectional household survey of 2492 households conducted in May 2015 were re-analyzed. The analysis compared three methods most commonly employed in the literature against a new method and compared each operationalization of social capital. This study identified latent class analysis, as an appropriate method for this context. Selection criteria included method limitations, dataset constraints, interpretability, and the amount of variance the classes contributed to an outcome of interest, food security. The three classes had both a significant and positive association with food security (p < 0.01). Appropriate operationalization was also determined by examining the semipartial R2 of each method. The latent class analysis index had an increment of 0.0064 (Household Food Insecurity Access Scale) and 0.0065 (Dietary Diversity Score), p < 0.001, the highest contribution of all models tested. These findings demonstrate approximate equivalence of findings using different methods; however, latent class analysis may be most appropriate given this context.
Pendley, S. C., Mock, N. B., & Theall, K. P. (2020). How you measure matters: defining social capital in drought-prone areas. International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, 50(101715)
International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction