Por Nora Dudwick, Kathleen Kuehnast, Veronica Nyhan Jones, and Michael Woolcock (World Bank)
Social capital, defined most practically as social networks and norms, mediates development opportunities and outcomes. As such, social capital research increasingly informs the design and evaluation of World Bank-supported projects and policies across diverse regions and countries, from Albania, Guatemala, and Indonesia to Nigeria, India, and the Kyrgyz Republic. While robust conclusions regarding correlations between development impacts and social capital can be gained through quantitative research alone, this is far from an ideal approach. Because social capital exists between individuals and groups, it is preferable to employ some qualitative and participatory methods to understand the causes and nuances of relationships and the contexts within which they exist.