Social Capital and Basic Goods: The Cautionary Tale of Drinking Water in India
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This paper uses micro data from the 1998-99 Indian Time Use Survey (ITUS - covering 77,593 persons in 18,591 households in Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Meghalaya, Orissa and Haryana) to examine the relative quantitative importance of social capital and of inequality in land ownership and caste status in determining whether a household will have to collect water. The paper argues that time use data provides a natural metric for measuring ‘social capital’ building activities, and for distinguishing between ‘bonding’ into groups or ‘bridging’ within communities. In India, the probability that a rural household fetches water decreases by 15.7% and 7.4% respectively when the average time spent on social interaction and communitybased activities at the district level doubles, but it increases by 19.2% when the time in groupbased activities doubles. Inequalities in income, land ownership and home ownership are associated with considerably larger differences in local tap water availability.
Motiram, Sripad and Lars Osberg, "Social Capital and Basic Goods: The Cautionary Tale of Drinking Water in India," Working Paper, 2010.