Understanding and Improving the Social Context of Well-Being
AbstractThe paper first attempts to demonstrate the fundamental importance of the social context. The related evidence is drawn from recent theoretical and empirical advances in the study of subjective well-being. Treating people’s self-assessments of the quality of their lives as valid measures of well-being exposes the importance of the social context and suggests new ways to design better policies. The paper starts with demonstrations of the unexpectedly great well-being consequences of social and pro-social behavior. In addition, evidence is advanced to show an evolutionary fitness for social and pro-social behaviors above and beyond those flowing through their direct consequences for subjective well-being. This is followed by discussion of specific measures of the social context, of the fundamental importance of trust as social glue, and of several experiments designed to improve subjective well-being.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 18486.
Date of creation: Oct 2012
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Find related papers by JEL classification:
- D6 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics
- I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy
- N30 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - General, International, or Comparative
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2012-10-27 (All new papers)
- NEP-EVO-2012-10-27 (Evolutionary Economics)
- NEP-HAP-2012-10-27 (Economics of Happiness)
- NEP-HME-2012-10-27 (Heterodox Microeconomics)
- NEP-LTV-2012-10-27 (Unemployment, Inequality & Poverty)
- NEP-SOC-2012-10-27 (Social Norms & Social Capital)
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