AND SOCIAL COHESION
Measuring Dimensions of
Social Capital to Inform Policy
Panel on Measuring Social and Civic Engagement and
Social Cohesion in Surveys
Kenneth Prewitt, Christopher D. Mackie, and Hermann Habermann,
Committee on National Statistics
Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education
NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL
OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES
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NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance.
This study was supported by an unnumbered award from the Corporation for National and Community Service through the National Science Foundation. Support for the Committee on National Statistics is provided by a consortium of federal agencies through a grant from the National Science Foundation (award number SES-1024012). Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project.
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Suggested citation: National Research Council. (2014). Civic Engagement and Social Cohesion: Measuring Dimensions of Social Capital to Inform Policy. K. Prewitt, C.D. Mackie, and H. Habermann (Eds.), Panel on Measuring Social and Civic Engagement and Social Cohesion in Surveys. Committee on National Statistics. Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES
Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine
The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences.
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The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. C. D. Mote, Jr., are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council.
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PANEL ON MEASURING SOCIAL AND CIVIC
ENGAGEMENT AND SOCIAL COHESION IN SURVEYS
KENNETH PREWITT (Chair), School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University
MICHAEL X. DELLI CARPINI, Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania
ROBERT W. EDWARDS, Independent Consultant, Camberra ACT, Australia
MORRIS P. FIORINA, JR., Hoover Institution, Stanford University
JEREMY FREESE, Department of Sociology, Northwestern University
CHARLOTTE B. KAHN, The Boston Foundation, Boston, MA
JAMES M. LEPKOWSKI, Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan
MARK HUGO LOPEZ, Pew Hispanic Center, Washington, DC
NORMAN H. NIE, Independent Consultant, Los Altos Hills, CA
PAMELA M. PAXTON, Department of Sociology, University of Texas at Austin
STANLEY PRESSER, Sociology Department, University of Maryland
JOEL SOBEL, Economics Department, University of California, San Diego
SIDNEY VERBA, Department of Government, Harvard University
CHRISTOPHER D. MACKIE, Study Director
HERMANN HABERMANN, Senior Program Officer
MICHAEL J. SIRI, Program Associate
COMMITTEE ON NATIONAL STATISTICS
LAWRENCE BROWN (Chair), Department of Statistics, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania
JOHN ABOWD, School of Industrial and Labor Relations, Cornell University
MARY ELLEN BOCK, Department of Statistics, Purdue University
DAVID CARD, Department of Economics, University of California, Berkeley
ALICIA CARRIQUIRY, Department of Statistics, Iowa State University
MICHAEL CHERNEW, Department of Health Care Policy, Harvard Medical School
CONSTANTINE GATSONIS, Center for Statistical Sciences, Brown University
JAMES S. HOUSE, Survey Research Center, Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan
MICHAEL HOUT, Department of Sociology, New York University
SALLIE KELLER, Virginia Bioinformatics Institute, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
LISA LYNCH, Heller School for Social Policy and Management, Brandeis University
COLM O’MUIRCHEARTAIGH, Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago
RUTH PETERSON, Criminal Justice Research Center, Ohio State University
EDWARD H. SHORTLIFFE, Departments of Biomedical Informatics, Columbia University and Arizona State University
HAL STERN, Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences, University of California, Irvine
CONSTANCE F. CITRO, Director
JACQUELINE R. SOVDE, Program Associate
This report is the product of contributions from many colleagues, whom we thank for their insights and effort. The project was sponsored by the Corporation for National and Community Service; additional input toward its initiation and development was contributed by the National Conference on Citizenship (NCoC) and the U.S. Office of Management and Budget. Early on during the panel’s work, Nathan Dietz and Christopher Spera (Corporation for National and Community Service), John Bridgeland and David Smith (NCoC), and Brian Harris-Kojetin (U.S. Office of Management and Budget) provided the panel with guidance regarding goals for the study. They also presented crucial background information about the status of the Serve America Act of 2009 (which calls for the Census Bureau and Bureau of Labor Statistics to “collect annually, to the extent practicable, data to inform the Civic Health Assessment”), about publications such as America’s Civic Health Index and related state and city projects led by NCoC and The Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, and about the Current Population Survey (CPS) Civic Engagement Supplement.
This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise in accordance with procedures approved by the Report Review Committee of the National Research Council (NRC). The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that assist the institution in making its reports as sound as possible and to ensure that the reports meet institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study
charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. The panel thanks the following individuals for their review of this report: William P. Eveland, Jr., Department of Communication, Ohio State University; Nancy Folbre, Department of Economics, University of Massachusetts, Amherst; Lewis A. Friedland, Center for Communication and Democracy, University of Wisconsin–Madison; D. Sunshine Hillygus, Duke Initiative on Survey Methodology, Duke University; Michael Hout, Department of Sociology, New York University; Cheryl Maurana, Advancing a Healthier Wisconsin Program, Medical College of Wisconsin; Jack Needleman, Fielding School of Public Health, University of California, Los Angeles; Robert J. Sampson, Department of Sociology, Harvard University; Nora Cate Schaeffer, Department of Sociology, Center for Demography and Ecology, University of Wisconsin–Madison; Matthew Smith, Division of Integrations, Lingotek, and Brigham Young University-Idaho; Eric (Ric) Uslaner, Department of Government and Politics, University of Maryland; and Burton A. Weisbrod, Department of Economics, Northwestern University.
Although the reviewers listed above provided many constructive comments and suggestions that resulted in a greatly improved report, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations, nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of the report was overseen by Jennifer L. Hochschild, Department of Government, Harvard University; and John C. Bailar III (professor emeritus), University of Chicago. Appointed by the NRC’s Report Review Committee, they were responsible for making certain that the independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of the report rests entirely with the authoring panel and the NRC.
The panel would also like to thank the following individuals who attended meetings and generously presented material to inform panel deliberations: Robert Putnam, Harvard University, one of the leading and most influential research pioneers on the topics covered in this report, provided an overview of the importance of, challenges facing, and opportunities in the measurement of civic engagement and social cohesion; Peter Levine, Tufts University, informed the panel about the innovative work by the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement and Marco Mira d’Ercole, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, reported about ongoing data projects in Europe and discussed implications of the Stiglitz/Sen/Fitoussi Commission recommendations on measuring social connections and political engagement.
Robert Groves, U.S. Census Bureau; Jim Lynch, Bureau of Justice Statistics; Thomas Nardone, Bureau of Labor Statistics; and Sunil Iyengar,
National Endowment for the Arts; presented to the panel from the perspective of U.S. statistical agencies. Each provided insights about approaches to measuring national well-being and progress and their many components, and about how government data collection in the areas of civic engagement and social cohesion could potentially inform policy.
Andrew Gelman, Columbia University, discussed small-area/community-level estimation methods and potential nonsurvey (and nongovernment) data sources; Lisa Clement, Robert Kominski, and Christopher Laskey, U.S. Census Bureau, provided a range of insights about the performance of the CPS Civic Engagement Supplement and the potential role of American Community Survey and other government data collection vehicles. David Grusky, Stanford University, presented to the panel on the topics of intergenerational mobility, including data requirements for measuring it, as well as about the relationship of social and economic mobility to social capital and civic health.
The panel could not have conducted its work efficiently without a capable staff. Constance Citro, director of the Committee on National Statistics, and Robert Hauser, executive director of the Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education, provided institutional leadership and substantive contributions during meetings. Kirsten Sampson Snyder, Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education, expertly coordinated the review process. Eugenia Grohman provided thoughtful and thorough editing. Michael Siri provided logistical support throughout the many meeting of the panel and contributed substantively to the report compiling tables and documenting information sources. Christopher Mackie and Hermann Habermann served as staff leads on the project and contributed substantively and organizationally throughout the study.
Most importantly, I would like to thank the panel members for their patience, creativity, hard work, and graciousness. Representing a number of disciplines—political science, sociology, and economics—they brought extensive collective expertise and contributed generously with their time and effort. It was a pleasure working with each of them.
Kenneth Prewitt, Chair
Panel on Measuring Social and Civic
Engagement and Social Cohesion in Surveys
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