How forms of social capital can be an asset for promoting health equity

Frances Baum

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

    2 Citations (Scopus)


    This chapter argues that societies that support and produce governments with a commitment to equity will be characterised by high levels of social capital including social cohesion. Commitment to action on the social determinants of health to increase equity in health status requires a proactive policy approach from governments and that governments demonstrating this proactivity will be those that have a value commitment to equity. This chapter will examine how the ways we conceive and develop social policy has a dramatic effect upon health outcomes and the extent to which they are distributed across society. The chapter starts by examining the relationships between different types of social capital (bonding, bridging and linking) and individual and community health and well-being outcomes, (including the extent of equity). It then considers why more equitable societies are higher in forms of social capital and the extent to which the causality of the relationship is mutually re-enforcing. The main argument in the chapter is that despite conceptual difficulties associated with social capital, it does offer a way to insert a social aspect in to debates about public health policies. Finally the chapter considers the importance of government policies that create an environment in which equitable health and well-being outcomes are likely and the roles of different forms of social capital in bringing these about.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationHealth Assets in a Global Context: Theory Methods Action
    Subtitle of host publicationTheory, Methods, Action
    Number of pages18
    ISBN (Print)9781441959201
    Publication statusPublished - 2010


    • Health equity • Health policy • Social capital
    • Social determinants of health


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