Insecurity, Social Capital and Collective Action

Clemente Forero-Pineda (Universidad de los Andes)
Luz Elena Orozco-Collazos (Universidad de los Andes)
Adriana Valenzuela (Universidad de los Andes)

Abstract: Empirical and theoretical studies have illustrated the close relationship there is between social capital and the formation of collective action. (i. e. Adger, 2003; Ostrom, Gardner and Walker, 1994; Pinto-Ramos, 2006), and have contributed to build a behavioral theory of collective action. Local conditions as well as individual differences affect this relationship (Ostrom, 1994). We extend this view by exploring whether in violent contexts, personal, communal and economic insecurities intervene in the formation of social capital and in developing the ability of communities to solve collective action problems. In the paper we present research carried out in 56 municipalities in 2015, in Colombian regions where the rates of violence have been consistently higher than average in the preceding decade. The effects of three components of social capital (relational, trust and reciprocity, and institutional) on collective action were analyzed. We chose to analyze these three components separately because different studies have questioned the empirical and theoretical validity of conflating them (Glaeser, 1999; Pinto-Ramos, 2006). We find that insecurity consistently affects collective action. There is a very clear negative relationship between personal, communal and economic insecurity and collective action. We also find that the components of social capital have distinct effects on collective action. While we find that there is no significant relationship between relational capital and collective action, both trust and institutional capital have a highly significant positive effect on collective action.