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Different networks, different resources? The ethnic inequality in the access to social capital in Belgium

(2010)
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Abstract
This study explores whether ethnic differences in formal and informal networks also result in differences in social capital resources. The study fits into a broader research project that focuses on the role of individual social capital in explaining ethnic inequalities in labour market outcomes. Following the social capital theory, ethnic differences in labour market outcomes can be explained to some extent by differences in the access to and the mobilization of social capital. In previous research, the ethnic inequality in the access to social capital has been measured by social network measures, like the ethnic composition of the social contacts and the active membership of voluntary organizations. However, these social network measures are just proxies for the access to social capital, because there are not directly measuring the resources embedded in the social networks. Moreover, these studies state that ethnic bridging ties are better than ethnic bonding ties, because there are bridging into a network rich of resources. This is, however, not yet explicitly tested. Therefore, the aims of this study are to examine whether (1) there is ethnic inequality in the access to social capital and (2) the widely used social network measures (e.g. ethnic composition of the friendship network and membership of voluntary associations) assess adequately social capital resources. For these purposes, we use the position generator methodology. The position generator asks whether the respondent “knows” anyone having an occupation from a systematic list of 10-30 different occupations. Subsequently, different social capital measures can be calculated (e.g. volume of social capital and the composition of social capital). For this study, we use the first wave of the first cohort of the ASK-dataset. This data contains information about 1296 last-year vocational high school students in two multi-ethnic cities in Belgium. Belgium is an interesting case because of its high socio-economic ethno-stratification, and its old and new waves of labour migrants. The population of last-year high school students is chosen for two reasons. First, data collection in high schools is an efficient way to get representative data about this young age category. Second, measuring the access to social capital before the labour market entrance is the best moment in the life course to assess the social inequality, because having a job is also a source of social capital. The results show that the ethnic minorities have a lower volume of social capital and have less access to high and middle class social capital than the male natives. This ethnic inequality in social capital can be explained by the socio-economic inequality. Moreover, it appears that there are clear gender differences in the access to social capital among the natives. With respect to the social network measures, the results show that (1) ethnic bridging friendship ties are bridging into resource rich networks among the male ethnic minorities, but not among the female ethnic minorities, and (2) active membership in voluntary organizations is increasing the access to social capital for female ethnic minorities, but not for male ethnic minorities.

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Chicago
Verhaeghe, Pieter-Paul. 2010. “Different Networks, Different Resources? The Ethnic Inequality in the Access to Social Capital in Belgium.” In .
APA
Verhaeghe, P.-P. (2010). Different networks, different resources? The ethnic inequality in the access to social capital in Belgium. Presented at the Trinity Immigration Initiative International Conference: New Migrations, new challenges.
Vancouver
1.
Verhaeghe P-P. Different networks, different resources? The ethnic inequality in the access to social capital in Belgium. 2010.
MLA
Verhaeghe, Pieter-Paul. “Different Networks, Different Resources? The Ethnic Inequality in the Access to Social Capital in Belgium.” 2010. Print.
@inproceedings{1001963,
  abstract     = {This study explores whether ethnic differences in formal and informal networks also result in differences in social capital resources. The study fits into a broader research project that focuses on the role of individual social capital in explaining ethnic inequalities in labour market outcomes.

Following the social capital theory, ethnic differences in labour market outcomes can be explained to some extent by differences in the access to and the mobilization of social capital. In previous research, the ethnic inequality in the access to social capital has been measured by social network measures, like the ethnic composition of the social contacts and the active membership of voluntary organizations. However, these social network measures are just proxies for the access to social capital, because there are not directly measuring the resources embedded in the social networks. Moreover, these studies state that ethnic bridging ties are better than ethnic bonding ties, because there are bridging into a network rich of resources. This is, however, not yet explicitly tested.

Therefore, the aims of this study are to examine whether (1) there is ethnic inequality in the access to social capital and (2) the widely used social network measures (e.g. ethnic composition of the friendship network and membership of voluntary associations) assess adequately social capital resources. For these purposes, we use the position generator methodology. The position generator asks whether the respondent {\textquotedblleft}knows{\textquotedblright} anyone having an occupation from a systematic list of 10-30 different occupations. Subsequently, different social capital measures can be calculated (e.g. volume of social capital and the composition of social capital).

For this study, we use the first wave of the first cohort of the ASK-dataset. This data contains information about 1296 last-year vocational high school students in two multi-ethnic cities in Belgium. Belgium is an interesting case because of its high socio-economic ethno-stratification, and its old and new waves of labour migrants. The population of last-year high school students is chosen for two reasons. First, data collection in high schools is an efficient way to get representative data about this young age category. Second, measuring the access to social capital before the labour market entrance is the best moment in the life course to assess the social inequality, because having a job is also a source of social capital.

The results show that the ethnic minorities have a lower volume of social capital and have less access to high and middle class social capital than the male natives. This ethnic inequality in social capital can be explained by the socio-economic inequality. Moreover, it appears that there are clear gender differences in the access to social capital among the natives. With respect to the social network measures, the results show that (1) ethnic bridging friendship ties are bridging into resource rich networks among the male ethnic minorities, but not among the female ethnic minorities, and (2) active membership in voluntary organizations is increasing the access to social capital for female ethnic minorities, but not for male ethnic minorities.},
  author       = {Verhaeghe, Pieter-Paul},
  language     = {eng},
  location     = {Dublin, Ireland},
  title        = {Different networks, different resources? The ethnic inequality in the access to social capital in Belgium},
  year         = {2010},
}