Is there social capital in service exchange tools? Investigating timebanking use and social capital development

Chien Wen Tina Yuan*, Benjamin V. Hanrahan, John M. Carroll

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Timebanking is a peer-to-peer service exchange tool in which the services exchanged are valued by the time it takes to provide them. This study complements previous work by empirically examining if timebanking is positively related to social capital development. Grounded in the theoretical model of social capital, the study incorporated self-efficacy and timebanking activities (requests and offers) as predictor variables, trust and reciprocity as dimension variables, and sense of community as outcome variable of social capital. Using data from a survey distributed across the timebanks nationwide (N = 429), our findings provided evidence of positive relationships among self-efficacy, requests on timebanks, trust, and sense of community. We conclude that timebanking use is a promising way to develop social capital. Our study contributes to the understanding of social capital development on different mediated platforms. Unlike social network site use, it does not require members to personally construct the networks to reap associated social benefits. Timebanks help connect people, pool resources from the community, and pave the way for trust and reciprocity among members.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)274-281
Number of pages8
JournalComputers in Human Behavior
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Apr
Externally publishedYes


  • Community engagement
  • Coproduction
  • Service exchange tools
  • Social capital
  • Social networks
  • Timebanking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • General Psychology


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