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Life satisfaction, social capital and the bonding-bridging nexus

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  • Pugno, Maurizio
  • Verme, Paolo

Abstract

The paper investigates the relation between social capital and life satisfaction focusing on the distinction between bonding and bridging. Using the latest version of the combined World and European Values Surveys, the authors first address the question of measurement of social capital by means of a multi-step factor analysis. Through this procedure, they nd that proxies typically used for social capital tend to polarize around two dimensions interpreted as bonding and bridging. These two dimensions are in fact associated with a single latent variable with opposite signs suggesting that they describe two sides of the same latent variable rather than two independent latent variables. The authors call this latent variable the locus of socializing and use it to explore the relation between social capital and life satisfaction across world citizens and across groups of similar countries. The results indicate that people with extreme bonding or bridging attitudes are less happy than people with more balanced attitudes. Unlike the literature on social capital and economic growth that finds bridging attitudes more desirable than bonding attitudes, they nd that bonding attitudes are at least as important as bridging attitudes for life satisfaction. This suggests that the social capital dimensions important for economic growth may not necessarily coincide with the social capital dimensions important for life satisfaction.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 5945.

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Date of creation: 01 Jan 2012
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:5945

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Keywords: Social Capital; Economic Theory&Research; Social Inclusion&Institutions; Cultural Policy; Labor Policies;

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References

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  1. John F. Helliwell & Christopher P. Barrington-Leigh & Anthony Harris & Haifang Huang, 2009. "International Evidence on the Social Context of Well-Being," NBER Working Papers 14720, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Becchetti Leonardo & Pelloni Alessandra & Rossetti Fiammetta, 2008. "Relational goods, sociability, and happiness," wp.comunite 0039, Department of Communication, University of Teramo.
  3. Andrew E. Clark, 2004. "What makes a good job? Evidence from OECD countries," DELTA Working Papers 2004-28, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  4. Stephan Meier & Alois Stutzer, . "Is Volunteering Rewarding in Itself?," IEW - Working Papers 180, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  5. Dearmon, Jacob & Grier, Kevin, 2009. "Trust and development," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 210-220, August.
  6. Beugelsdijk, S. & Smulders, J.A., 2009. "Bonding and Bridging Social Capital and Economic Growth," Discussion Paper 2009-27, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  7. Woolcock, Michael & Narayan, Deepa, 2000. "Social Capital: Implications for Development Theory, Research, and Policy," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 15(2), pages 225-49, August.
  8. Bruni, Luigino & Stanca, Luca, 2008. "Watching alone: Relational goods, television and happiness," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 65(3-4), pages 506-528, March.
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Cited by:
  1. Kathy Baylis & Yazhen Gong & Shun Wang, 2013. "Bridging vs. Bonding Social Capital and the Management of Common Pool Resources," NBER Working Papers 19195, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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