Determining Social Capital by Social Accounting

Peter Friedrich



Although social capital has been often debated in the last 20 years, there is a widely accepted definition missing and the approaches to measuring its size are not very well-developed. Therefore, the definitions of social capital are stated and analysed, whether they are appropriately designed also for measurement purposes. We end up with a division between capital consisting of real capital as fixed and working capital and financial capital on the one hand, and capitals, which are referring to human capital and social capital in a narrow sense on the other hand. The last two are named here as social capital. The stock of the first kind of capital can be expressed as net capital when the liabilities are deducted is booked to the final social balance, as well as the remainder of the stock accounts. The stock of the second one can be identified as social assets reduced by social liabilities. Non-commercial values of economic activities are gathered in social accounting. With social accounting there are several approaches, however most of them are not developed to such an extent that the social capital can be determined through an adequate ex-post analysis. A welfare economic oriented approach comprising a bookkeeping system helps to determine social capital. Based on the willingness to pay approach a commercial bookkeeping system and an additional social bookkeeping were designed where the respective “private” and additional social capital were verified. Both together show the total social capital related to an economic subject. The result is illustrated by such a social accounting for the Faculty of Economics and Business Administration of the University of Tartu for 2006. The author discusses the limits and possibilities of this kind of social capital determination.


social capital; social success; social accounting; ex-post analysis

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