Date of Award


Degree Name

PhD Leadership Studies

Dissertation Committee

Robert Donmoyer, PhD, Chair; Fred J. Galloway, EdD, Member; Patricia Marquez, PhD, Member


Cognitive social capital, economic empowerment, Leadership studies, longitudinal analysis, Microfinance, poverty alleviation, rural, Structural social capital, South Africans, value of accumulated assets, women


This longitudinal study explored the relationship between household asset accumulation over time and measures of social capital among impoverished rural South African women. The study re-analyzed an existing data set from a 2001–2005 study done in eight villages in South Africa. The original study investigated the impact of a microfinance and education intervention on the prevalence of HIV/AIDS and intimate partner violence. This study re-analyzed interview responses from 739 households in the original data set and used multiple regression analysis to explore the relationship between measures of cognitive social capital (CSC) and structural social capital (SSC) and household economic welfare as measured by change in the value of household assets over time. The models used first considered the relationship of select demographic variables to asset accumulation and then explored the relationship of select social capital measures to asset accumulation. Results for the study's three primary research questions revealed that for the overall multiple-variable models, there was no significance (p = .17, p = .24, and p = .22, respectively), and the variables accounted, respectively, for only 1.9 percent, 2.0 percent, and 2.1 percent of the variance in the respondents' change in the value of household assets score. Further analysis done of the microfinance participation by degree of involvement revealed moderate significance (p < .001) in measures related to baseline, follow-up, and changes in CSC as well as measures related to baseline, follow-up, and changes in SSC. A principal component analysis done on the CSC and SSC measures found that two questions among the CSC index regarding a woman's trust that strangers in a village will help her household in time of personal crisis held together well and showed moderate significance (t = 2.22, p < .05) in terms of household asset accumulation. The results of this study run counter to findings in other studies that suggest increases in social capital lead to higher levels of economic welfare. Social capital researchers and microfinance practitioners should find the analysis and results from this study challenging but informative.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access


Leadership Studies