Does social capital enhance political participation of older adults? A multi-level analysis of older Finns and Swedes


This article contributes to the literature on political gerontology by analysing the role that social capital plays in the political participation of older adults. More specifically, the aim is to test the importance of individual-level and contextual-level social capital for different types of political participation of older adults in a Scandinavian setting by using survey data from Finland and Sweden (N = 6838). The results show that even though membership in voluntary associations, intense social networks and high levels of interpersonal trust tend to be positively correlated with political participation of older adults as a whole, the explanative logic differs between them depending on the kind of political engagement. The only type of social capital with a robust positive impact on all dimensions of political participation was individual-level membership in voluntary associations.

In Journal of International and Comparative Social Policy