Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis (Open Access)


Colby College. Economics Dept.


Michael Donihue

Second Advisor

Rob Lester


While the examination of social capital in social science research has expanded since the 1990s, little is known about its development over time or contributions to economic growth, particularly at the community level. I create a state-level index of social capital from 2008 to 2019 to analyze its evolution across the United States since the Great Recession. After analyzing the different rates of social capital improvement across the country, I then integrate the index in the production function and a growth accounting framework alongside capital and labor. I find that social capital is not only significant as a factor of production, but also as a component of economic growth during this period that justifies its examination separate from total factor productivity. These results can inform public policy at all levels to improve economic and social well-being.


social capital, index, economic growth, US, growth accounting, great recession

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