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Past Event

Networks of opportunity: Social capital and economic mobility

Past Event

Social capital—the strength of an individual’s social network and community—has been identified as a potential determinant of outcomes ranging from education to health. However, efforts to understand what types of social capital matter for these outcomes have been hindered by a lack of social network data. In joint work from Raj Chetty (Harvard University), Johannes Stroebel (NYU Stern), Theresa Kuchler (NYU), Matt Jackson (Stanford), and other collaborators, data on interpersonal connections is used to measure and analyze social capital for every ZIP code, high school, and college in the United States.

On Wednesday, August 3, Chetty and Stroebel presented their findings. A panel of experts followed to discuss insights gleaned from their work, including new evidence on the relationship between social capital and upward mobility.

Viewers submitted questions for speakers in advance on Twitter using the hashtag #SocialCapital or by emailing


Welcome and introduction


Raj Chetty

William A. Ackman Professor of Economics - Harvard University

Director - Opportunity Insights

Panel discussion

Robert Putnam

Malkin Research Professor of Public Policy - Harvard University

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