Nations in the Global South have increasingly embraced large hydropower. Hydropower development typically involves the displacement and resettlement of entire communities and has a range of social and ecological impacts. Some communities become the operational center for the dam construction, as well as host new neighborhoods of resettlers. One of the less-studied impacts of dams is the potential loss of social capital both in resettled and host communities. Here, we ask how the Belo Monte dam in the Amazon is associated with social capital in a resettled group and a non-resettled population that, while not experiencing resettlement, nevertheless was impacted by the dam as well. We use measures of cognitive and structural social capital. Results suggest that resettlers have lower structural social capital across two proxy indicators, whereas the host community has lower cognitive social capital. Future research and social impact assessments should pay more attention to how hydropower impacts both kinds of social capital.

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