Columbia International Affairs Online: Working Papers

CIAO DATE: 10/2013

Social Capital and Disaster Recovery: Evidence from Sichuan Earthquake in 2008

Chun Wing Tse, Jianwen Wei, Yihan Wang

September 2013

Center for Global Development


Social capital can help reduce adverse shocks by facilitating access to transfers and remittances.This study examines how various measures of social capital are associated with disaster recovery after the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. We find that households having a larger Spring Festival network in 2008 do better in housing reconstruction. A larger network significantly increases the amount of government aid received for housing reconstruction. Furthermore, households having larger networks receive monetary and material support from more people, which also explains the positive impacts on recovery from the earthquake. As for other measures of social capital, connections with government officials and communist party membership do not significantly contribute to disaster recovery. Human capital, measured by the years of schooling of household head, is not positively correlated with housing reconstruction.