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Social capital or social cohesion: what matters for subjective well-being (SWB)?

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  • KLEIN Carlo
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    Abstract

    The theoretical analysis of the concepts of social capital and of social cohesion shows that social capital should be considered as a micro concept whereas social cohesion, being a broader concept than social capital, is a more appropriate concept for macro analysis. Therefore, we suggest that data on the individual level should only be used to analyze the relationship between social capital, social cohesion indicators and subjective well-being and that they do not allow commenting on the level of social cohesion in a society. For this last type of analyses aggregated indicators of social cohesion have to be computed which is not the issue of this paper. Our empirical analysis is based on individual data for Luxembourg in 2008. In general, our results suggest that investments in social capital generate monetary returns (increased income) and psychic returns (increased SWB) even in a highly developed and multicultural country like Luxembourg. When we are adding on the micro level variables representing the economic domain of social cohesion following Bernard (1999), then we observe that this domain also has an effect on income and on SWB. Therefore, we recommend including the economic domain in any future analysis using the concept of social cohesion.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by CEPS/INSTEAD in its series CEPS/INSTEAD Working Paper Series with number 2011-36.

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    Length: 40 pages
    Date of creation: Jul 2011
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    Handle: RePEc:irs:cepswp:2011-36

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    Keywords: social capital; social cohesion; subjective well-being; EVS 2008;

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    1. ACKET Sylvain & BORSENBERGER Monique & DICKES Paul & SARRACINO Francesco, 2011. "Measuring and validating social cohesion: a bottom-up approach," CEPS/INSTEAD Working Paper Series, CEPS/INSTEAD 2011-08, CEPS/INSTEAD.
    2. Joseph Chan & Ho-Pong To & Elaine Chan, 2006. "Reconsidering Social Cohesion: Developing a Definition and Analytical Framework for Empirical Research," Social Indicators Research, Springer, Springer, vol. 75(2), pages 273-302, 01.
    3. Clark, Andrew E. & Frijters, Paul & Shields, Michael A., 2007. "Relative Income, Happiness and Utility: An Explanation for the Easterlin Paradox and Other Puzzles," IZA Discussion Papers 2840, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Stefano Bartolini & Ennio Bilancini & Maurizio Pugno, 2008. "Did the Decline in Social Capital Depress Americans’ Happiness?," Department of Economics University of Siena, Department of Economics, University of Siena 540, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
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