ProjectsInternational Public Policy ObservatoryC-19 Social Capital
The role of social capital during the COVID-19 pandemic

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Social capital is a broad term describing the benefits and resources we receive through our interactions with others in our networks and communities. Social capital is a term that is characterised by fuzziness in its definition and measurement, and can assume a variety of forms. These forms include networks of individuals who connect with others in the same social group (bonding social capital), or who connect with others across social divides (bridging social capital), or who make connections across authority or institutionalised power divisions (linking social capital). During the COVID-19 pandemic, social capital was mobilized in multifarious ways in efforts to protect individuals and communities from the impacts of the pandemic.

This project aims to synthesise evidence on what we know about the influence of social capital during the pandemic. 

Key Components
This project has two components:

  1. A preliminary rapid scoping review that maps out broad trends in the published literature on social capital
  2. An in-depth mixed-methods systematic review on a question of policy relevance around the role of social capital and/or interventions to mobilise and/or strengthen social capital.

Scoping review and evidence and gap map
The aim of this scoping review is to explore the evidence base exploring the link between social capital and pandemic related outcomes, in order to inform the design of a subsequent systematic review. The results will be visualised as an evidence and gap map, with a short narrative report produced to describe the results and provide guidance for developing a full systematic review. This rapid scoping review will focus on exploring evidence around the relationship between social capital and four key outcomes impacted by the pandemic including economic prosperity (GDP), COVID-19 mortality, COVID-19 morbidity, and wellbeing. The review will use the concepts of bridging, bonding and linking as a framework for understanding the role of different forms of social capital.

Mixed-methods systematic review 
We will develop a focused question, based in part on the results from the scoping review, through working with a range of academic and policy experts who form the Advisory Group for this project. The review will employ a range of synthesis methods appropriate for addressing the review question. 

Stakeholder Engagement
Members of our Advisory Group will help to develop a focused question for the systematic review.

Further information will be posted on this page as we continue to develop this project. For enquiries about this work, please contact Dylan Kneale ( or Mukdarut Bangpan ( 

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