A Framework for Developing Social Capital Indicators

  • Mary Johnson RMIT University
  • Noel Vock RMIT University
  • Anne Shangrila Fuentes University of the Philippines Mindanao
  • Evy Carusos Landcare Foundation of the Philippines, Inc.
Keywords: agricultural extension model, social capital indicators


Previous papers (Puerto et al; Johnson et al., this issue) have defined social capital and explained its relevance to agricultural (and other) extension approaches. The strong linkage between social capital and economic development was also described. It was also noted that social capital is an elusive concept to measure. Consequently “indicators” are frequently used to assess changes in social capital. However, deciding on an appropriate set of indicators is a nontrivial task and is dependent upon the settings in which the indicators are to be used. This paper first describes the initial steps taken in implementing an improved model of agricultural extension. This provides a context for the derivation of the social capital indicators relevant to the project discussed in detail in later papers (see Vock et al.; Meguito et al., this issue). A framework is then produced for deriving a set of indicators, followed by the indicators themselves and guides to measurement. At the micro level, the identified indicators were the following: farmer group is established and functioning; farmer group expanding their networks; level of trust within the farmer group and community is increasing; and the farmer group is contributing to community solidarity. At the meso level, the identified indicators are the following: local institutions and key personnel are present and accessible; local institutions are actively engaged with farmer groups; and local institutions are well networked within the target area and externally. The framework was then expanded to encompass measurement guidelines for each indicator along the lines of “what can change,” “how to measure,” “measurement outcome,” and “importance of the measure.” The framework has potentially broad application beyond the project for which this was developed. The framework is more “local” in nature compared to most previous attempts to derive social capital indicators.
Special Section