Purpose- The study of social capital in the context of location/space is a new approach that is dominated by the science of geography, and is seen as a way of distinguishing it from other sciences. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the impact of livelihood capitals on social capital in rural areas of Bojnourd County.
Design/methodology/approach- This study was a fundamental research, conducted in a descriptive-analytical method. Documentary methods and field works have been employed to collect the data. The population consisted of 22 villages with more than 20 households in Bojnourd County, selected from various population classes and distances from Bojnourd. Using Cochran formula and random sampling method, 298 households were selected from a total of 4849 households in the rural areas of the study area. Partial least squares technique and Smart PLS software were used to test the conceptual model of the research and the impact of livelihood capitals on social capital. Geographically Weighted Regression (GWR) was used to evaluate the model efficiency at Bojnourd County level.
Findings- According to the results, the coefficients of T among the main variables of the study were above 2.58, which means the relationship is significant and direct. Thus, local-spatial factors have a significant and positive effect on social capital. Based on total coefficients, human capital with the coefficient of 0.348 and physical capital with the coefficient of 0.136 respectively had the most and the least effect on social capital. The results of spatial analysis using GWR showed that the impact coefficient of livelihood capitals on social capital was highest in the villages of Atrabad Olia and Gharajeh, and in total about 45% of villages in the study area had an impact coefficient of 0.90 to 0.91.
Research limitations/implications- As the study of livelihood capitals and analysis of their relationship with social capital is a fundamental challenge in achieving sustainable rural development that is missing in current studies, it is recommended that future studies pay more attention to social capital and the impact of livelihood capitals on its creation and rural development.
Practical implications- Rural areas suffer from the lack of social capital, which is one of the most important types of development capital required to achieve sustainable rural development. Thus, enhancing the social capital and informing the villagers about the value and importance of local-spatial factors and the material and non-material capitals available in rural areas should be on the agenda of rural development researchers and planners.
Social capital, Livelihood capitals, Structural equations, Geographically weighted regression, Bojnourd County
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