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Are Happier People Better Citizens?

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  • Cahit Guven

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 finds 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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  • Cahit Guven, 2011. "Are Happier People Better Citizens?," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 64(2), pages 178-192, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:kyklos:v:64:y:2011:i:2:p:178-192 DOI: j.1467-6435.2011.00501.x
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    Cited by:

    1. J. Ott, 2011. "Government and Happiness in 130 Nations: Good Governance Fosters Higher Level and More Equality of Happiness," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 102(1), pages 3-22, May.
    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. 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.
    4. Guven, Cahit, 2012. "Reversing the question: Does happiness affect consumption and savings behavior?," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 701-717.
    5. Berggren, Niclas & Nilsson, Therese & Bjørnskov, Christian, 2015. "What Aspects of Society Affect the Quality of Life of a Minority? Global Evidence from the New Gay Happiness Index," Working Paper Series 1101, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
    6. Yulei Rao & Lixing Mei & Rui Zhu, 2016. "Happiness and Stock-Market Participation: Empirical Evidence from China," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 17(1), pages 271-293, February.
    7. 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.
    8. Ruut Veenhoven, 2015. "Informed Pursuit of Happiness: What we should know, do know and can get to know," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 16(4), pages 1035-1071, August.
    9. Delis, Manthos D. & Mylonidis, Nikolaos, 2015. "Trust, happiness, and households’ financial decisions," Journal of Financial Stability, Elsevier, vol. 20(C), pages 82-92.
    10. Krause, Annabelle, 2013. "Don’t worry, be happy? Happiness and reemployment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 96(C), pages 1-20.
    11. Ivlevs, Artjoms, 2015. "Happy Moves? Assessing the Link Between Life Satisfaction and Emigration Intentions," IZA Discussion Papers 9017, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    12. repec:eee:joepsy:v:62:y:2017:i:c:p:72-86 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Artjoms Ivlevs, 2014. "Happy moves? Assessing the impact of subjective well-being on the emigration decision," Working Papers 20141402, Department of Accounting, Economics and Finance, Bristol Business School, University of the West of England, Bristol.
    14. Rickardsson, Jonna & Mellander, Charlotta, 2017. "Absolute vs Relative Income and Life Satisfaction," Working Paper Series in Economics and Institutions of Innovation 451, Royal Institute of Technology, CESIS - Centre of Excellence for Science and Innovation Studies.
    15. 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.
    16. Jan Ott, 2014. "Good Question, Nice Answer, But Why Without Happiness?," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 15(3), pages 737-740, June.
    17. Veenhoven, Ruut, 2012. "Evidence based pursuit of happiness: What should we know, do we know and can we get to know?," MPRA Paper 41924, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D3 - Microeconomics - - Distribution
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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