Civic Engagement and Economic Opportunity Among Low-Income Individuals: An Asset-Based Approach

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This study uses an asset-based approach to examine the ways social and human capital accessed through civic engagement may serve as a pathway toward economic opportunity for low-income individuals. Using a qualitative approach, this study draws on interviews with 31 low-income individuals who are civically engaged in a range of activities, including community organizing, giving money, informal engagement, religious participation, and volunteering. Findings contribute to the literature suggesting that study participants were often able to mobilize and deploy the social and human capital assets accumulated through different types of civic engagement into employment and education opportunities. However, embedded within social and human capital assets are also examples of the ways structural factors influenced whether study participants could transfer social and human capital assets acquired through civic engagement into economic opportunities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)988-1014
Number of pages27
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2017



  • Assets
  • Civic engagement
  • Economic opportunity
  • Human capital
  • Low-income
  • Social capital

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration
  • Strategy and Management

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