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Sociability, Altruism and Subjective Well-Being

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We provide non experimental evidence of the relevance of sociability on subjective wellbeing by investigating the determinants of life satisfaction on a large sample of Europeans aged above 50. We document that voluntary work, religious attendance, helping friends/neighbours and participation to community-related organizations affect positively and significantly life satisfaction. We illustrate the different impact that some sociability variables have on eudaimonic versus cognitive measures of subjective wellbeing. Our empirical findings discriminate among other regarding and self-regarding preferences as rationales explaining such behaviour. We document that different combinations between actions and motivations have different impact on life satisfaction thereby providing support for the relevance of these specific “contingent goods” and to the literature of procedural utility. Our findings are confirmed in robustness checks including refinements of the dependent variable, instrumental variables and sensitivity analysis on departures from the exogeneity assumption.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Tor Vergata University, CEIS in its series CEIS Research Paper with number 270.

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Length: 43 pages
Date of creation: 29 Mar 2013
Date of revision: 29 Mar 2013
Handle: RePEc:rtv:ceisrp:270

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Postal: CEIS - Centre for Economic and International Studies - Faculty of Economics - University of Rome "Tor Vergata" - Via Columbia, 2 00133 Roma
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Web page: http://www.ceistorvergata.it
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Postal: CEIS - Centre for Economic and International Studies - Faculty of Economics - University of Rome "Tor Vergata" - Via Columbia, 2 00133 Roma
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Web: http://www.ceistorvergata.it

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Keywords: sociability; altruism; other-regarding activities; other regarding motivations; life satisfaction; subjective well-being.;

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  1. Hoch, Stephen J & Loewenstein, George F, 1991. " Time-Inconsistent Preferences and Consumer Self-Control," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(4), pages 492-507, March.
  2. H. M. Shefrin & Richard Thaler, 1977. "An Economic Theory of Self-Control," NBER Working Papers 0208, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Jesse M. Shapiro, 2003. "Is there a Daily Discount Rate? Evidence from the Food Stamp Nutrition Cycle," Microeconomics 0304005, EconWPA, revised 21 Apr 2003.
  4. Stefano DellaVigna & M. Daniele Paserman, 2005. "Job Search and Impatience," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(3), pages 527-588, July.
  5. D.Dragone, 2005. "Incoerenza Dinamica ed Autocontrollo: Proposta per un'Analisi Interdisciplinare," Working Papers 549, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
  6. Drazen Prelec, 2004. "Decreasing Impatience: A Criterion for Non-stationary Time Preference and "Hyperbolic" Discounting," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 106(3), pages 511-532, October.
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