Measuring the Radius of Trust As a Indicator of Social Capital: Results from a Nationwide Social Capital Survey in Japan

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 09:45
Oral Presentation
Akio KOYABU, Waseda University, Japan
Generalized trust has been a predominant topic throughout the social sciences as the key component of social capital. As discussed by Fukuyama (2000), excessive in-group trust reduces the ability of group members to cooperate with outsiders. Delhey et al. (2011) found that the radius of “most people” whom respondents imagine varies considerably across countries and matters for civic attitudes and behaviors in cross-country regressions.
This research, therefore, shed some light on the individual and regional differences in radius of trust within a given nation or culture and the differences in communities.
The primary goal of this report is to investigate this issue by examining how the radius of trust affects outcomes (e.g. fear of crime, life satisfaction), and is affected by independent valuables, based on data from a nationwide social capital survey carried out in 2013 in Japan (N = 3406 in 99 municipalities).
This survey asks respondents to rate several items (e.g. friends and acquaintances, colleagues at work, and neighbors) on a scale of 1-5, where 1 is “very reliable” and 5 is “not at all reliable”. In this study, the scale of “radius of trust” was created by summing up the number of items rated 1-2.
A multi-level analysis conducted in this report show that the radius of trust, after controlling for SES and some regional valuables, is associated with the outcomes, at both the individual and municipal level. On the other hand, the standard trust question is only associated with the outcomes at individual level.
These findings suggest that we can capture social capital more fully with the trust radius, and that dilution of solidarity is easy to be linked to a sense of deteriorating public security for residents living there.