Relational Costs and the Production of Social Capital: Evidence from Carpooling* 


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    We thank Robert Axelrod, Rebecca Blank, John Bound, Charles Brown, Mary Corcoran, John Dinardo, Jeff Dominitz, Ronald Ehrenberg, Kevin Lang, Glenn Loury, Gary Solon, Melvin Stephens Jr., David Thatcher and seminar participants at the University of Michigan, Northwestern University and Boston University for useful comments.


This article posits that individuals can more easily form social connections with people if they are of the same race. If true, the greater the incidence among his neighbours of persons of his race, the more likely an individual is to make neighbourhood social capital connections and the more likely he is to engage in activities which require it. The article tests this idea using an indicator of individual social capital never previously studied: whether the person uses a carpool to get to work. The analysis accounts for fixed differences across neighbourhoods, and a variety of extensions address possible differential racial sorting into neighbourhoods. The evidence strongly supports the article's hypothesis.