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Representative David Schweikert - Vice Chairman

Social Capital Project

About the Project

The Social Capital Project is a multi-year research effort that will investigate the evolving nature, quality, and importance of our associational life. “Associational life” is our shorthand for the web of social relationships through which we pursue joint endeavors—namely, our families, our communities, our workplaces, and our religious congregations. These institutions are critical to forming our character and capacities, providing us with meaning and purpose, and for addressing the many challenges we face.

The Latest

The Demise of the Happy Two-Parent Home

As sources of valuable social capital, few relationships are as important as the family ties between parents and children. However, as with other features of our associational life, family ties have been weakening for several decades.

More Research Confirms Importance of Social Capital in Studying Coronavirus

Recent research suggests a relationship between social capital and the behaviors that curb the spread of COVID-19.

Saving for Social Capital

While there are good reasons not to rely on the tax code to promote social goals, its imbalanced treatment of spending and saving actually discourages savings and thereby poses a barrier to social capital investment. Universal savings accounts would help rectify this bias.

Priced Out: Why Federal Tax Deductions Miss the Mark on Family Affordability

There is a strong family affordability case for avoiding policies that increase home prices. The current slate of itemized deductions is ineffective in achieving the goal of family affordability, and the system is therefore ripe for reform.

Update: Deaths Of Despair Declined In 2018

From 2017 to 2018, the age-adjusted mortality rate from deaths of despair ticked down from 45.8 to 45.3 per 100,000.

The Space Between: Renewing the American Tradition of Civil Society

Even in our twenty-first-century American society, associational life ought to be at the center of thinking about our social order and public policy. This report discusses rebuilding civil society. It lays out the nature of our diminished civil society, documents trends in its decline, and charts a ...

Multiple Choice: Increasing Pluralism in the American Education System

The American education system makes it difficult for parents to individually tailor their children’s educational experience. Most families are defaulted into a one-size-fits-all model, designed in the age of assembly lines, and no longer fit for era of technological disruption.

Zoned Out: How School and Residential Zoning Limit Educational Opportunity

Since housing is the traditional gateway to public education, this paper suggests policymakers consider improving access to educational opportunity by minimizing residential zoning while expanding public school choice policies. Reforming residential zoning supports public school choice efforts by pe...

Reforming the Charitable Deduction

Rebuilding civil society will require capitalizing on the strengths of America’s associational life to address its weaknesses. One way of doing so is to reform policy so that less of the charitable giving of Americans is subject to taxation. Doing so would be more consistent with the principle that ...

Long-Term Trends in Deaths of Despair

Anne Case and Angus Deaton famously chronicled a dramatic rise among middle-aged non-Hispanic whites since 1999 in “deaths of despair”—deaths by suicide, drug and alcohol poisoning, and alcoholic liver disease and cirrhosis. The Social Capital Project has extended Case and Deaton’s research to cover...