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Are Happier People Better Citizens?

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  • Cahit Guven

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Abstract

This paper presents evidence on causal influence of happiness on social capital and trust using German Socio-Economic Panel. Exploiting the unexplained cross-sectional variation in individual happiness (residuals) in 1984 to eliminate the endogeneity problem, the paper nds that happier people trust others more, and importantly, help create more social capital. Specifically, they have a higher desire to vote, perform more volunteer work, and more frequently participate in public activities. They also have a higher respect for law and order, hold more association memberships, are more attached to their neighborhood, and extend more help to others. Residual happiness appears to be an indicator of optimism, and has an inverse U-shaped relationship with social capital measures. The findings also suggest that the relationship between happiness and social capital strengthened in the world in the last decade.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Deakin University, Faculty of Business and Law, School of Accounting, Economics and Finance in its series Economics Series with number 2009_04.

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Date of creation: 14 Apr 2009
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Handle: RePEc:dkn:econwp:eco_2009_04

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Keywords: happiness; trust; social capital; optimism.;

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Citations

Blog mentions

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  1. Are happier people better citizens?
    by Ariel Goldring in Free Market Mojo on 2010-04-26 06:01:55
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Cited by:
  1. Koch, Christian, 2013. "The Virtue Ethics Hypothesis: Is there a nexus between virtues and well-being?," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 80054, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  2. Jan Ott, 2010. "Greater Happiness for a Greater Number: Some Non-controversial Options for Governments," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 11(5), pages 631-647, October.
  3. Krause, Annabelle, 2013. "Don’t worry, be happy? Happiness and reemployment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 96(C), pages 1-20.
  4. Cahit Guven, 2008. "Reversing the Question. Does Happiness Affect Consumption and Savings Behavior?," Economics Series 2008_20, Deakin University, Faculty of Business and Law, School of Accounting, Economics and Finance.
  5. Jan Ott, 2013. "Science and Morality: Mind the Gap, Use Happiness as a Safe Bridge!," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 14(1), pages 345-351, March.
  6. Martin Rode, 2013. "Do Good Institutions Make Citizens Happy, or Do Happy Citizens Build Better Institutions?," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 14(5), pages 1479-1505, October.
  7. Krause, Annabelle, 2012. "Don't Worry, Be Happy? Happiness and Reemployment," IZA Discussion Papers 7107, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Jan Ott, 2014. "Good Question, Nice Answer, But Why Without Happiness?," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 15(3), pages 737-740, June.

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