Children's role in generating social capital

Shira Offer, Barbara Schneider

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Using data from the 500 Family Study, this study examines how adolescents contribute to their families' social capital An instrumental variable model reveals that adolescents' social involvement has a positive effect on social support from sources outside the family, suggesting that parents connect to other parents in the community through their children. This finding provides an interesting revision to Coleman's model of social closure. It indicates that rather than being solely the outcome of parents' investments, the creation of social capital is a process also mediated by the children themselves, who can act as motivators of network building for their parents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1125-1142
Number of pages18
JournalSocial Forces
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2007
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Center on Parents, Children and Work at the University of Chicago. The authors would like to thank DooHwan Kim, John Padgett, Robert Petrin, Holly Sexton, Linda Waite, Social Forces Editor Peter Uhlenberg and three anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments and suggestions. Direct correspondence to Shira Offer, Department of Sociology, Alfred P. Sloan Center on Parents, Children and Work, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois 60637. E-mail:


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