Social Capital, Civic Engagement, and Political Efficacy in East Asia

Tuesday, July 15, 2014: 1:15 PM
Room: 503
Oral Presentation
Ray-May HSUNG , Sociology, National Chengchi University, Taichung, Taiwan
This study attempts to explore plausible mechanisms among social capital, trust, civic engagement, and political efficacy in four East Asian societies. The data are from the 2012 East Asia Social Survey on Social Capital, including data from Taiwan, China, Japan, and Korea. This study differentiates social capital into individual social capital, organizational social capital, and trust. Individual social capital is measured by the diversity of accessed position-generated networks, and organizational social capital is measured by the diversity of voluntary associations people participated in. Trust is classified into three types of trust as well: trust to personal contacts, trust to public agents, and general trust. This study attempts to examine the effects of individual and organizational social capitals on three types of trust, and then furthermore examine the function of all types of social capitals in terms of civic engagement and perception to political efficacy. One dominant and more universal mechanism is that there is a positive effect of position-generated social capital on all types of trust in all East Asian societies except that in China. In China, diversified social capital is vulnerable to trust which quite supports some finding on the vulnerability of weak ties in socialist society. The effects of organizational social capitals on trust to government agents and personal contacts are stronger in Korea and Japan, but the position-generated individual social capital has strong effects on trust to personal contacts and general trust in Taiwan. Both individual and organizational social capital affect civic engagement in four societies, but the effects of these two social capitals on perception to political efficacy even are stronger except for those in Korea. Trust to government agents and trust to personal contacts have direct effects on the perception of political efficacy in four societies, and trust variables also become intervening variables in Taiwan.