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Sociability, altruism and well-being


  • Leonardo Becchettibecchetti
  • Luisa Corrado
  • Pierluigi Conzo


We provide non-experimental evidence of the relevance of sociability to subjective well-being by investigating the determinants of life satisfaction on a sample of Europeans aged above 49. Departing from the neoclassical Homo economicus paradigm of human behaviour, we document that voluntary work, religious attendance, helping friends/neighbours and participation in community-related organisations affect life satisfaction positively and significantly. Moreover, different combinations between actions and motivations generate differential effects on life satisfaction, thereby providing support to the importance of these specific ‘contingent goods’ and to the literature of procedural utility. Our empirical findings are confirmed in robustness checks including refinements of the dependent variable, instrumental variables and sensitivity analysis on departures from the exogeneity assumption.

Suggested Citation

  • Leonardo Becchettibecchetti & Luisa Corrado & Pierluigi Conzo, 2017. "Sociability, altruism and well-being," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 41(2), pages 441-486.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:cambje:v:41:y:2017:i:2:p:441-486.

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    Cited by:

    1. Leonardo Becchetti & Pierluigi Conzo & Mirko Di Febbraro, 2018. "The Monetary†Equivalent Effect of Voluntary Work on Mental Wellbeing in Europe," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 71(1), pages 3-27, February.
    2. Maria Bachelet & Leonardo Becchetti & Fabiola Ricciardini, 2015. "Not Feeling Well… (True or Exhaggerated ?) Health (un)Satisfaction as a Leading Health Indicator," CEIS Research Paper 336, Tor Vergata University, CEIS, revised 02 Apr 2015.
    3. Francesco Sarracino & Marcin Piekałkiewicz, 0. "The Role of Income and Social Capital for Europeans’ Well-Being During the 2008 Economic Crisis," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 0, pages 1-28.
    4. Lorna Zischka & Mark Casson & Marina Della Giusta, 2016. "'Cast your bread upon the waters, for you will find it after many days.' A BHPS study of the interaction between giving and welfare," Economics Discussion Papers em-dp2016-10, Department of Economics, Reading University.
    5. María Guadalupe Martino, 2020. "Civil Economy: An Alternative to the Social Market Economy? Analysis in the Framework of Individual versus Institutional Ethics," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 165(1), pages 15-28, August.

    More about this item


    Sociability; Altruism; Other-regarding activities; Other-regarding motivations; Life satisfaction; Subjective well-being;

    JEL classification:

    • I0 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - General


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