Social capital in the creation of cultural capital: Family structure, neighborhood cohesion, and extracurricular participation. By: An, Weihua; Western, Bruce. Social Science Research. Jul2019, Vol. 81, p192-208. 17p.

Past research has found that participation in extracurricular activities helps develop children’s cultural capital that is crucial to both education and career successes. Previous studies have examined various determinants of extracurricular participation, but mostly focused on social class, demographics, and school characteristics. In this paper we renew the Coleman tradition by putting social capital (as measured by family structure and neighborhood cohesion) in the spotlight and studying the effect of social capital on youth participation in organized extracurricular activities. By using longitudinal data from the 2004 panel of the Survey of Income and Program Participation of representative households in the U.S. and conducting various robust statistical analyses, we provide updated results on the subject. We find that a two-parent household (especially in relative to households with cohabiting parents) and neighborhood cohesion (i.e., a set of cohesive relationships among parents in the neighborhood) both have a positive and significant association with extracurricular participation. We also find such associations vary somewhat by child’s sex, age, race, and the type of extracurricular activity. We conclude that to equalize children’s participation in extracurricular activities future social policies should consider interventions that target low-income families and families with single-parent or cohabiting parents, that can improve neighborhood cohesion, and that are tailored by the type of extracurricular activity.