There is an increasing interest on the effects of social capital on the health of the older adults among researchers. One of the key policy question for an ageing population is the identifications of the factors which influence health. Very recently, an increasing interest on social capital has developed and, surprisingly, not much is known for the European population. This paper analyses the effect of social capital on self-perceived health and highlights its different behaviour between men and women and among European countries. Social capital is decomposed in its two components - bonding and bridging social capital - in order to understand if the relations inside or outside an individual inner circle have a different impact on health. Our results give empirical support to the role of individual social capital in preventing a poor selfperceived health. This mean that social capital, especially the bridging component of it, can be one of the key factors of ageing in good health and should be fostered by policy makers in order to give an answer to one of the most compelling challenge of our century: population aging.
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