Relational Goods, Sociability, and Happiness
AbstractThis paper empirically investigates the impact of relational goods on individual life satisfaction. By relational goods we indicate the affective/expressive, non instrumental, side of interpersonal relationships. The homo oeconomicus view of human nature is questioned by the recent upsurge of empirical studies on the determinants of self declared happiness, that show that an increasing income does not always lead to more subjective well being ( Easterlin's famous (1974) 'paradox of happiness'). The theoretical literature on relational goods has isolated various mechanisms which may induce an under-consumption and under- production of relational goods. The hypothesis we test is that people with a more intense relational life are less affected by this 'relational poverty trap' and are therefore happier. Our findings does not disprove our hypothesis: relational goods turn out to have significant and positive effects on self declared life satisfaction, when other determinants isolated in the literature as important are taken into account and when the inverse causality nexus i.e. from more happiness to a more intense relational life is also taken into account. Finally, we show that gender, age and education matter and in particular that the effects of sociability on happiness are stronger for women, older and less educated individuals. These findings can be useful in designing and evaluating public policies with a direct or indirect effect on the quality and quantity of relational goods. Copyright 2008 The Authors. Journal compilation 2008 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
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Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal Kyklos.
Volume (Year): 61 (2008)
Issue (Month): 3 (08)
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Web page: http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/journal.asp?ref=0023-5962
Other versions of this item:
- Leonardo Becchetti & Alessandra Pelloni & Fiammetta Rossetti, 2008. "Relational Goods, Sociability, and happiness," CEIS Research Paper 117, Tor Vergata University, CEIS, revised 14 Jul 2008.
- Becchetti Leonardo & Pelloni Alessandra & Rossetti Fiammetta, 2008. "Relational goods, sociability, and happiness," wp.comunite 0039, Department of Communication, University of Teramo.
- H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
- Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Social and Economic Stratification
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