Social Capital and Well-Being of Rural Households in Southwest Nigeria- A Capability Approach

Olowe, Olukemi Olumuyiwa; Okunmadewa, Foluso (2016). 'Social Capital and Well-Being of Rural Households in Southwest Nigeria- A Capability Approach' Paper presented at the annual conference of the HDCA, Tokyo 2016.

Many Nigerians have a low level of well-being despite the country being ranked the largest economy in Africa. The recent drop in oil price has however, exacerbated the situation. Majority of rural households in Nigeria are engaged in farming with small holdings and continue to experience poor living conditions in spite of several rural and agricultural development programs embarked upon by successive governments. Social capital has been identified as a potential instrument for improving well-being. The use of unidimensional approach has not adequately addressed well-being issues. Hence, the need for a multidimensional assessment using the Capability approach. The effect of social capital on well-being of rural households in Southwestern Nigeria was therefore investigated.
    A Multi-stage sampling procedure was used. Ogun and Osun states were randomly selected from Southwestern Nigeria. Five Local Government Areas (LGAs) were randomly selected using probability proportionate to size. Ten Enumeration Areas (EAs) were randomly selected from each LGA and 10 households were systematically sampled from each EA. Out of the 500 households sampled, only 439 with adequate information were used for the analyses. A semi-structured questionnaire was used to collect information on household socio-economic characteristics (age, household size, gender, educational attainment, marital status and primary occupation of households’ heads) and social capital variables [Membership Density, heterogeneity, meeting attendance, decision making, Cash Contribution, Labour Contribution, collective action and trust]. Information collected on dimensions of capability included health, nutrition, education, housing, autonomy, political participation, transportation and safety. A Well-being index was generated from these dimensions. Data were analysed using descriptive statistics, fuzzy set and the ordered probit model.
Age and household size were 53.5±17.1years and 4.4±2.9, respectively. Majority (68.0%) of household heads were farmers while 65.8% of household heads were married. Density of memberships in associations was 3.4±0.7 with Heterogeneity Index of 47.6%. Average meeting attendance was four out of five and Decision Making Index was 54.1%. Cash contribution of households to their associations was N2314.85±N1655.0, while Labour Contribution was less than 1 man-day per annum (0.6±0.8). Collective action index and trust index were 0.86 and 0.87, respectively. Membership in local associations is not limited to economic or financial gains alone as most prominent groups in the study area are religious and political groups with 37.4% and 12% representation respectively. Capability index was 0.5849. Transportation dimension made the highest contribution of 0.1316 while health made the lowest contribution of 0.0285 to the capability index. Quartile distribution was employed to categorize households into very high, high, low and very low well-being. The result of the ordered probit revealed that meeting attendance and trust improved potential well-being. Meeting attendance index reduced the probability of having very low well-being by 0.002 and low well-being by 0.004 but increased the probability of having high and very high well-being by 0.005 and 0.002, respectively.
Social capital improves well-being. The effects of social capital on well-being revealed that meeting attendance and trust are significant to achieving higher capability well-being. This suggests that social capital can complement government efforts in rural development and social capital must be sustained by rural households to improve their well-being.
Keywords: Social capital, Capability Approach, Well-being, Rural households

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