Agricultural Economics Department


Date of this Version



Universal Journal of Agricultural Research 4(1): 25-31, 2016

DOI: 10.13189/ujar.2016.040105


© 2016 by authors, all rights reserved. Authors agree that this article remains permanently open access under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0 International License


The paper examines individual motivation about social capital, measured by willingness to accept of compensation to leave individually valued social relations behind in moving from an ideal-type mid-western rural community, referred to “Nirvana.” The Heckman two steps method is applied to analyze a survey conducted in Nirvana. In Step1, 665 observations are used to run a Probit estimate on the individual decision to move. In Step2, 438 observations are used to perform a Semi-log OLS estimate of social capital value. The empirical analysis suggests that social capital investment is driven by the dual motivation represented in an egoistic based self-interest and an empathy-sympathy based other-interest, both of which are jointly pursued within the own-interest. This finding implies that community development strategies need to determine the nature of orientation when internalizing the own-interest of individuals in the community in question. This paper provides direct empirical evidence to support that both self-interest and other-interest motivate the investment of social capital in a well-developed rural community. It also helps understanding why some rural communities achieve a higher state of economic development and community vitality than others. To answer question about what level of self-interest conditioned by the shared other interest works best, will require further testing in various communities, other than just one case study.