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Well-Being, Social Capital and Public Policy: What's New?

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  • John F. Helliwell

Abstract

This article summarises recent empirical research on the determinants of subjective well-being. Results from national and international samples suggest that measures of social capital, including especially the corollary measures of specific and general trust, have substantial effects on well-being beyond those flowing through economic channels. Cross-national samples (supported by parallel analysis of suicide data) show large well-being effects from the quality of government. Finally, using well-being data to estimate the income-equivalents non-financial aspects of the workplace produces numbers so large as to suggest the existence of unexploited opportunities to improve both employee satisfaction and enterprise efficiency. Copyright 2006 Royal Economic Society.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Royal Economic Society in its journal The Economic Journal.

Volume (Year): 116 (2006)
Issue (Month): 510 (03)
Pages: C34-C45

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Handle: RePEc:ecj:econjl:v:116:y:2006:i:510:p:c34-c45

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  1. Andrew E. Clark & Ed Diener & Yannis Georgellis & Richard E. Lucas, 2008. "Lags and Leads in Life Satisfaction: A Test of the Baseline Hypothesis," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 84, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  2. van Praag, Bernard M. S. & Baarsma, Barbara E., 2004. "Using Happiness Surveys to Value Intangibles: The Case of Airport Noise," IZA Discussion Papers 1096, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. John F. Heliwell & Haifang Huang, 2005. "How's the Job? Well-Being and Social Capital in the Workplace," NBER Working Papers 11759, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, . "Happiness, Economy and Institutions," IEW - Working Papers 015, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  5. Daniel Kaufmann & Aart Kraay & Massimo Mastruzzi, 2003. "Governance Matters III: Governance Indicators for 1996-2002," Development and Comp Systems 0308001, EconWPA.
  6. Kahneman, Daniel & Wakker, Peter P & Sarin, Rakesh, 1997. "Back to Bentham? Explorations of Experienced Utility," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(2), pages 375-405, May.
  7. Kaufmann, Daniel & Kraay, Aart & Zoido-Lobaton, Pablo, 1999. "Governance matters," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2196, The World Bank.
  8. John Helliwell, 2007. "Well-Being and Social Capital: Does Suicide Pose a Puzzle?," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 81(3), pages 455-496, May.
  9. John F. Helliwell & Haifang Huang, 2006. "How's Your Government? International Evidence Linking Good Government and Well-Being," NBER Working Papers 11988, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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