Chasing pre-1980 social capital surveys

Nerdy data question. I’m thinking about writing a short book or long paper over January on trends in social capital in Australia. It’s a topic I’ve been researching for the last 2-3 years, but I’m painfully short of data in one area — surveys from the pre-1980 era.

If you know of any surveys prior to 1980 that asked about political participation, social activities (such as eating with friends), whether the respondent trusts others, or membership of organisations, I’d be most grateful if you could let me know. Right now, the only relevant thing I know of is the 1967 & 1969 Australian Election Studies, which only have a few social capital-relevant questions.

If you can assist, copious footnotes will be written in your honour.

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2 Responses to Chasing pre-1980 social capital surveys

  1. Andrew Norton says:

    Andrew – It uses a small sample, but J.S. Western’s chapter on political participation in Henry Mayer’s *Australian Politics: A Third Reader* (1973) might be worth a look.

    There is some church attendance data in Kemp’s *Society and Electoral Behaviour* (1978).

    Some 1966 vs 1991 neighbourly interaction data in Lois Bryson and Ian Winter’s *Social Change, Suburban Lives*. It is only from a small area of Melbourne; the authors have a sociologist’s understanding of economics (ie none) but the book is an interesting study of a working class community over time.

  2. Andrew Leigh says:

    Andrew, that’s great, thanks very much. Incidentally, church attendance data is the area where numbers are best — there’s a very strong field of researchers there.

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