SOC 2235 UBC Race and Ethnicity as Moderators of Neighborhood Bonding Worksheet

SOC 2235

University of British Columbia


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SOCIOLOGY 2235 – Assignment #2 Answer Sheet Download this answer sheet and type your answers into each section. NAME: Student #: Main argument (2 marks) Theory (6 marks) a) What is the authors’ definition of social capital? b) Define and distinguish the difference between bonding, bridging and linking social capital. c) According to the authors, why does social capital matter in the study of poverty? Research (3 marks) a) Method: b) Sample size: c) Sample characteristics: Results and discussion (6 marks) a) What are the findings presented by the authors related to race/ethnicity, employment, and social capital? b) What are the differences discussed between the impact of bonding and bridging social capital? c) What are the limitations of the study as discussed by the authors? ANTIPOVERTY EFFORTS FOR VULNERABLE FAMILIES Race and Ethnicity as Moderators of Neighborhood Bonding Social Capital: Effects on Employment Outcomes for Families Living in Low-Income Neighborhoods Daniel Brisson, Susan Roll, & Jean East ABSTRACT The concept of social capital is being applied to community-based antipoverty programs across the country. Despite its increased presence in program theory, research on the process and effects of social capital are lacking. This study tests the direct and moderating relationships between race and ethnicity, informal neighborhood bonding social capital, and poverty on employment for households in low-income urban neighborhoods. Findings reveal a direct and inverse relationship between informal neighborhood bonding social capital and employment, suggesting that social capital is not a cure-all for families living in low-income neighborhoods. Implications for social workers include carefully considering the types of social capital used in program theory and practice, and whether the specific types of social capital are appropriate for intended program outcomes. D espite decades of program and policy work, urban communities across the country continue to struggle with issues related to poverty. Time limits for families receiving welfare (Neubeck, 2006; Seccombe, 2007), a near stagnant minimum wage—which has helped to create a class of working poor (Edin & Lein, 1997; Ehrenreich, 2001)—and public benefits that don’t match the ever-rising cost of living (Handler & Hasenfeld, 2007) all contribute to the issue of urban poverty. While the latest American Community Survey (U.S. Census Bureau, 2006) showed a slight drop in poverty rates from 2005, 13 million children in the United States remain in poverty today. Eighty percent of these children live in metropolitan areas, where poverty rates average 17.5% (U.S. Census Bureau, 2006). As urban populations continue to grow, there is an increasing need to identify and implement ways to alleviate the multidimensional problems related to poverty in inner cities. One theory that has been applied to social work community practice and addresses urban poverty is social capital—defined as trusting social networks and shared values and norms in a community (Coleman, 1988; Lin, 2001; Putnam, 2000). Social work and social service organizations are applying the concept of social capital in their programming strategies as a way to support families to develop tangible and intangible assets (Putnam & Feldstein, 2003). The concept of social capital is particularly appealing to social workers because of its foundational premise of capital formation through relationship building. A deeper understanding of social capital, and learning how to create and sustain it, holds promise for families and individuals in low-income urban neighborhoods. Considering the debilitating consequences of poverty and the potential of social capital as a guiding concept for individual, family, and community interventions, this article tests the moderating characterisFamilies in Society: The Journal of Contemporary Social Services 368 tics of race, ethnicity, and poverty on informal neighborhood bonding social capital for family employment outcomes. We begin with a review of the literature discussing the implications of social capital, race and ethnicity, relative poverty, and employment in low-income neighborhoods. The specific methods and analysis of this study are then presented, followed by a discussion of the results. We end with suggestions for future research and implications for social service programs. Social Capital and Low-Income Communities The individual and social consequences of poverty are well documented. A plethora of studies can be found linking poverty to high crime, unemployment, poor educational and health outcomes, homelessness, substance abuse, and juvenile delinquency (Brooks-Gunn, Duncan, & Aber, 1997; Jencks & Mayer, 1990; Leventhal & Brooks-Gunn, 2000; Wilson, 1987). Social workers—whose ecological and person-in-environment framework integrates individual, family, neighborhood, community, and institutional systems—are well positioned to inform social service practice and research addressing issues of poverty. At the same time, with growing supporting evidence, social capital has become a viable construct to guide social work in low-income communities. The concept of social capital has gained recent popularity across disciplines, but the concept has been in the literature for over a century. From a historical perspective, social capital was studied primarily by economists and economic sociologists who were heavily influenced by the work of Marx and Engels, Simmel, Durkheim, Weber, and Parsons (Portes & Sensenbrenner, 1993). Recently, social capital has become popular among varied disciplines, and even the general public, with Robert Putnam’s best-selling book, Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community (2000). In his book, Putnam portrays | | DOI: 10.1606/1044-3894.3919 ©2009 Alliance for Children and Families Brisson, Roll, & East | Race and Ethnicity as Moderators of Neighborhood Bonding Social Capital: Effects on Employment Outcomes for Families in Low-Income Neighborhoods social capital as a social and economic cure-all, and he provides beginning evidence of social capital’s relationship to improved health and education, lower levels of crime, and economic advantage. One way that social scientists have begun to understand social capital is by breaking it down into types. Three of the most widely accepted types of social capital include bonding, bridging, and linking (Gittell & Vidal, 1998). Bonding social capital occurs among people in the most similar of situations, such as immediate family, close friends, and neighbors. Bridging social capital occurs among people in more distal relationships, and linking occurs between people who are the most dissimilar. In the context of the present study in urban neighborhoods, social capital is the value embedded in the informal trusting social networks between neighbors (Lin, 2001), and, as such, this study focuses on informal bonding relationships that occur in the context of urban neighborhoods. Informal neighborhood bonding social capital can aid families in many ways. Examples include sharing child-care responsibilities among neighbors; sharing transportation, including borrowing vehicles; job networking through neighborhood contacts; political power through shared values; and emotional and psychological support (Coleman, 1988; Lin; Woolcock & Narayan, 2000). While community-based social service programs currently apply the social capital construct to antipoverty programs, social scientists continue to build empirical evidence on the specific processes by which we can expect social capital to benefit families in low-income urban neighborhoods. If one assumes that economic and cultural differences matter for the way individuals develop and maintain trusting relationships (Chaskin, 2001), then it is important to test the intersection of social capital with characteristics of social class, race, and ethnicity. More specifically, do the effects of social capital differ for families of different racial and ethnic groups, and do the effects of social capital differ for families of varying incomes? In addition, an issue when studying social capital is measurement of the concept. While well-accepted measures have not been identified for all social capital types, there is general acceptance of measures of an individual’s perceptions of social cohesion and trust among neighbors, which is part of informal neighborhood bonding social capital (Browning, Leventhal, & Brooks-Gunn, 2005; Cohen, Finch, Bower, & Sastry, 2006; Dorsey & Forehand, 2003; Drukker, Kaplan, Feron, & Van Os, 2003; Lochner, Kawachi, Brennan, & Buka, 2003; Rankin & Quane, 2002; Sampson, Raudenbush, & Earls, 1997). The combination of social cohesion and trust among neighbors is a strong conceptual match for our definition of informal neighborhood bonding social capital. why racial and ethnic clustering exists in low-income neighborhoods, we do want to know if individuals and families of different racial and ethnic backgrounds access and experience social capital differently as related to job networking and employment outcomes. In addition to racial and ethnic clustering, economic clustering in low-income neighborhoods as an aggregate has also been firmly established (Coulton & Pandey, 1992; Massey, 1990; Shaw & McKay, 1969). Yet within low-income neighborhoods, there are families with little to no income, working poor families, and middle-class families (Ehrenreich, 2001; Schiller, 2001). Families with different levels of relative wealth will seemingly need different strategies for advancing their economic condition (Edin & Lein, 1997; Ehrenreich). For the purpose of this investigation, we have separated families living above and below the poverty level to begin to tease out how differences in relative wealth may moderate the effect of social capital on employment. There is also theoretical support suggesting that relationships similar to informal neighborhood bonding may be detrimental to securing employment. Park and Burgess (1924) presented an ecological perspective where low-income inner-city neighborhoods were considered places for transition and families did not settle into these neighborhoods, but instead transitioned through them. From this perspective, families from a high-transition neighborhood will not receive a return on their investment due to a lack of reciprocity in neighborhood social relationships. Building on Park and Burgess’s work, social disorganization theorists suggest that the rules and social norms of some low-income neighborhoods can run antithetical to those rules and social norms followed by governing bodies and institutions (Shaw & McKay, 1969). The conflict between local social norms and institutional social norms can present a barrier to accessing institutionalized benefits, such as full-time employment. From a limited resources view, the inverse relationship between bonding and employment can be explained by understanding that families in neighborhood bonding relationships spend their limited resources on emergencies and crises. If the resources needed to address crises are greater than the resources available through bonding social capital, then families may sacrifice other advantages, such as full-time employment, to support networked families in crisis. Finally, Granovetter (1973) proposed the popular strength-of-weak-ties theory, which suggests that the reciprocity associated with strong ties may prove overly burdensome for some low-income families, thereby limiting opportunities for economic advancement, and weak ties may provide the connections necessary to access key resources while not providing the economic burden of reciprocity. Securing Employment and the Moderating Effects of Race, Ethnicity, and Relative Poverty Research Questions There are a number of reasons to test the moderating effect of race and ethnicity on the relationship between social capital and employment in urban neighborhoods. For one, it is well established that clustering by race and ethnicity occurs in neighborhoods. Jargowsky (1997) identified that the majority of African Americans, Hispanics, and Whites live where their own group is dominant. We also know that some race and ethnic minority groups are overrepresented in low-income neighborhoods (Massey, 1990; Wilson, 1987). Several hypotheses have been offered to explain this ethnic clustering. It could be racial and ethnic cultural and networking behavior (Banks, 2003; Borjas, 2006; Jarkowsky, 1997); it could be housing and economic market conditions (Wilson); it could be institutionalized racism and segregation (Quillian & Redd, 2006). While, we are not testing a specific hypothesis to explain A review of the literature clearly delineates the complex role that informal neighborhood bonding social capital plays in helping families from low-income neighborhoods secure employment. In fact, whether informal neighborhood bonding social capital should improve or hinder family employment outcomes is unclear from our literature review. If we are to attempt to utilize social capital as a centerpiece for community-based antipoverty programs, we must clearly understand the role of informal bonding social capital for families as well as its interaction with factors such as poverty, race, and ethnicity in urban neighborhoods. Further, if social service programs hope to make changes for families, we need scientific evidence to guide programmatic decisions regarding social capital’s utility. To this end, our study tests the direct effects of informal neighborhood bonding social capital, race and ethnicity, and poverty on employment. We also test the moderating effects of race and ethnic369 FAMILIES IN SOCIETY | Volume 90, No. 4 status in consideration of the possible confounding relationship between race and ethnicity and immigrant status in the models. An operational description of each of the primary concepts in the models follows. Poverty Race and ethnicity. In the survey, respondents were asked to indicate their race or ethnicity and were told they Informal neighborhood Employment could choose more than one race or ethnicity for themselves. bonding social capital The authors collapsed survey responses into five categories of race or ethnicity for the analysis. The five categories (with Race and ethnicity the percentage of respondents in each category in parentheses) are Asian (7.2%), Black (32.0%), Hispanic (28.2%), White (25.1%), and a final category of all other races, which includes less than 6% of the sample. Racial and ethnic ity on neighborhood bonding social capital for employment and the minority groups are disproportionately represented in low-income moderating effect of poverty on neighborhood bonding social capital neighborhoods, and research suggests that neighborhoods cluster as for employment. Figure 1 provides an illustration of the framework we racially and ethnically homogenous communities (Massey, 1990; Neltest in our models. son, 2005). Further, European Americans (or Whites, in this analysis) have been the historical majority group and receive some advantage in Methods having this majority status. For these reasons, those households identified as White will serve as a comparison group in the analysis. To test our research questions, the study uses a national dataset with a Neighborhood bonding social capital. One of the primary indepenstratified sample of families living in low-income neighborhoods. The dent variables in the study is an individual’s informal neighborhood dataset was constructed from baseline surveys conducted in 2002 and bonding social capital. Informal neighborhood bonding social capital 2003 of over 7,000 households of targeted low-income neighborhoods in is measured using four indicators of neighborhood social cohesion cities participating in The Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Making Conand one indicator of neighborhood trust. The five indicators measurnections initiative. Making Connections is a comprehensive community ing neighborhood bonding social capital were originally tested in the change initiative in designated low-income neighborhoods in 10 U.S. Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods (PHDCN; cities. The cities participating in the initiative are Denver, Des Moines, Sampson et al., 1997). Scale measurement procedures revealed that Hartford, Indianapolis, Louisville, Milwaukee, Oakland, Providence, the most valid and reliable measure is a weighted composite score San Antonio, and Seattle. The dataset represents a cross-section of of the five indicators.1 The coefficient alpha for the neighborhood households in low-income neighborhoods. Due to the cross-sectional bonding social capital scale is .71 with a mean score of 3.44 (SD = .80; nature of the data, cause-and-effect relationships between tested vari1.05 = low to 5.27 = high). ables are limited. Poverty. Poverty is measured using an estimate of the 2002 poverty line based on available data. In the survey, respondents were asked to Sample report household income in $5,000 increments up to a maximum of A sampling frame of households in designated Making Connections $30,000 (all households with income above $30,000 are aggregated into neighborhoods was constructed for each city participating in the initiaone group). Twenty-five percent of households reported annual income tive. A probability sample of households was then selected from each of above $30,000. Respondents were also asked to report the number of the designated neighborhoods. Once a household was selected for the family members in the household. From these two variables, an estisurvey, a household roster was constructed. If no children were presmate of households living above and below the poverty line was coment in the household, one adult respondent was selected at random to piled.2 The data show that 41% of households in the survey are living respond for the household. If children were present in the household, below the poverty line. then the adult who knew the child best responded for the household. Immigrant status. Households where the survey respondent A total of 7,437 households from low-income neighborhoods in the was born in another country are considered immigrants in the 10 cities are included in the analyses. Over half of the households in the analyses. Of the 7,437 households in the analyses, 26% are immisample had income below $20,000 and 75% had income below $30,000. grant households. Although it is clear that recent immigrants to Multiple imputation using NORM® software was used to correct for the United States have contributed significantly to the economy cases with missing data. Multiple imputation is considered the highest (Fix and Passel, 1994; Rodriguez, 1999), it is also true that many standard for correcting for missing data, and it allows for statistical recent immigrants live in urban neighborhoods where they face ecoinference to be made back to the original sample (McKnight, McKnight, nomic hardship. According to the U.S. Census Bureau (2007), one in Sidani, & Figueredo, 2007). Following the recommendations of Schaeffer (2000), nine complete datasets were constructed from the original 1 The five indicators, with weights in brackets, are: (a) I live in a close-knit neighdataset with missing values. Model estimates were then computed for borhood [1.00], (b) People in my neighborhood are willing to help their neighbors each of the nine datasets. Final results are the average values of esti[2.01], (c) People in my neighborhood generally don’t get along with each other mates from the nine imputed datasets. FIGURE 1. Direct and moderating effects of informal neighborhood bonding social capital, race and ethnicity, and poverty on employment. Measures This inquiry was interested in the direct and moderating relationship of race an ...
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SOCIOLOGY 2235 – Assignment #2 Answer Sheet
Download this answer sheet and type your answers into each section.


Student #:

Main argument (2 marks)
The article's primary argument involves the evaluation of race, ethnicity, and poverty
factors on informal neighborhood bonding as well as social capital for the employment
outcome of families. It discusses informal bonding relationships occurring in the
urban neighborhood context.
Theory (6 marks)
a) What is the authors’ definition of social capital?
Social work is a theory that has been applied to social work practice to address
poverty in the urban areas. Social capital is defined as a community’s social network
and ...

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University of Virginia

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