Halpern, David. Social Capital. 2010, Cambridge: Polity. Click here to see Chapter 1.
Halpern, David. Inside the Nudge Unit. 2015, London: WH Allen. Click here to see Chapter 1.
In a career of academics at Cambridge and politics in the primer minister’s office, David Halpern has interwoven the relevance of practice with the rigor of research to develop his framework for highlighting and enabling the ability of a community or nation to be more resilient, leveraging the hidden wealth of its social capital. Halpern shares the evolution of his framing over three books, coming out one every five years. For Halpern, social capital “refers to the social networks, norms and sanctions that facilitate co-operative action among individuals and communities” (SC pp 38-39). Halpern’s frame “incorporates three different dimensions of social capital: its main components (networks, norms and sanctions); the level of analysis employed (individual-, meso- and macro-levels); and its character of function (bonding, bridging, linking)” (SC p 39).
I highly recommend reading this series. For me, reading them in order of publication helped set the frame, embracing its simultaneous rigor and relevance, with deep dives into the underlying philosophical fields of inquiry underlying human prosperity and resilience, social capital, and behavioral economics, the evolution of these philosophies, and the vast amount of data gathered and experiments engaged to test and evolve the frame. In the end, Halpern convincingly frames an evidence-based story of how the social capital needed for human resilience resides within us and can be accessed through awareness and intelligent experimentation.