, Volume 27, Issue 3, pp 239-260

Japanese Network Capital: The Impact of Social Networks on Japanese Political Participation

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Recent scholarship shows that social capital has a large influence on political behavior. Social capital’s definition includes trust, norms of reciprocity, and social networks. Most studies, however, ignore the networking component. Here, we test the influence of social networks on political participation using new Japanese survey data. We separately test the effects of involvement in formally organized voluntary associations and informal social networks. We also examine whether hierarchical networks have a different impact on participation than equal relationships. To determine if networks with bridging or bonding social capital affect participation differently, we also measure the openness to outsiders of these networks. Negative binomial regression models indicate a strong positive relationship between formal and informal social networking—including network hierarchy and some forms of openness—and political participation.