Neighborhood Institutions and their Effects on Collective Efficacy

Frances Frick Burden

Collective efficacy research has furthered the discussion of how neighborhoods organize themselves and maintain public order. This paper adds to this ongoing discussion by examining how institutions affect collective efficacy levels in neighborhoods. Because many people today are engaged in community building activities, such as civic groups, block groups and even religious organizations, their participation in these institutions may foster many of the secondary social capital ties that help a community build collective efficacy. Thus, this paper examines how institutions and participation in those institutions both inside neighborhood and outside that neighborhood relate to levels of collective efficacy. Preliminary findings suggest that participation in religious organizations yield significantly higher levels of collective efficacy when the religious organization is located within the neighborhood, and significantly lower levels of collective efficacy when residents participate in religious organizations outside of their neighborhod. Other institutions such as neighborhood watch programs and political ward groups yield significantly higher levels of collective efficacy only if that participation occurs within the neighborhood setting.

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Updated 05/20/2006