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There are numerous indirect ways in which socioeconomic status (SES) can advantage or disadvantage people in developing social capital. Specifically, SES affects the access individuals have to beneficial resources that indirectly affects the social capital benefits individuals receive from personal and group social networks. With the advent of social network sites like Facebook, the ability to quantify and measure the effects of SES on social capital benefits is possible to a much greater degree than ever before. This study of undergraduate students focuses on the relationship between SES and social capital. We examine the relationship between SES and three structural measures of students' social capital using online social network data: general social capital (network size), bridging social capital (number of clusters), and bonding social capital (average degree). According to our results, higher SES relates to larger and denser networks, but not to networks with more clusters. These findings suggest that SES is not related to greater opportunities for networking, but better capitalization of existing network contexts. In addition to the novel substantive contribution, this paper offers a methodological advance in the structural study of social capital, which has previously been limited in size or complexity due to recall.
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Keywords: Facebook; social capital; social network sites; social networks; socioeconomic status

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Michigan State UniversityTelecommunication, Information Studies & Media (TISM), Communication Arts & Sciences BuildingEast LansingMI48824, USA 2: [email protected], Email: [email protected], URL: _contents"> Ohio UniversitySociology and Anthropology, Bentley Annex 109AthensOH45701, USA< xmlns:xlink="" xlink:href="">[email protected], Email: [email protected], URL: 3: [email protected], Email: [email protected], URL: _contents"> University of Oxford, Oxford Internet Institute, 1 St GilesOxfordOX13JS, UK< xmlns:xlink="" xlink:href="">[email protected], Email: [email protected], URL: 4: [email protected], Email: [email protected], URL:"> Ohio UniversitySchool of Communication Studies, 43 W UnionAthensOH45701, USA< xmlns:xlink="" xlink:href="">[email protected], Email: [email protected], URL:

Publication date: June 1, 2011

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