Better a Hundred Friends than a Hundred Rubles? is part of the World Bank Working Paper series. These papers are published to communicate the results of the Bank's ongoing research and to stimulate public discussion. The study of social networks in post-socialist countries is an important tool for bridging the policy gap between macro-level economic strategies and micro-level interventions. Better a Hundred Friends than a Hundred Rubles? examines the impact of economic transition and poverty on social networks in the Central Asian country of the Kyrgyz Republic. The findings of this study illustrate the notable impact of poverty on the form and function of informal social networks of the poor and non-poor. They reveal the dynamics of how the poor both disengage from and are isolated by and from the non-poor. The study further describes how the social networks of poor and non-poor households have polarized and separated in a process that paraliels the sharp socioeconomic stratification that has taken place since national independence in 1991. It also examines not only how the networks have separated, but also how each has changed in character.
Publisher: World Bank Publications