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Social Capital and Individual Happiness in Europe

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  • Andrés Rodríguez-Pose

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  • Viola Berlepsch

Abstract

This paper explores the relationship between social capital and happiness both in Europe as a whole, as well as in its four main geographical macro-regions—North, South, East and West—separately. We test the hypothesis of whether social capital, in its three-fold definition established by Coleman (Am J Sociol 94:S95–S120 1988 )—trust, social interaction, and norms and sanctions—influences individual happiness across European countries and regions. The concept of social capital is further enriched by incorporating Putnam (Making democracy work—civic traditions in modern Italy. Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1993 ) and Olson (The rise and decline of nations—economic growth, stagflation, and social rigidities. Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 1982 ) type variables on associational activity. Using ordinal logistic regression analysis on data for 48,583 individuals from 25 European countries, we reach three main findings. First, social capital matters for happiness across the three dimensions considered. Second, the main drivers of the effects of social capital on happiness appear to be informal social interaction and general social, as well as institutional trust. And third, there are significant differences in how social capital interacts with happiness across different areas of Europe, with the connection being at is weakest in the Nordic countries. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Suggested Citation

  • Andrés Rodríguez-Pose & Viola Berlepsch, 2014. "Social Capital and Individual Happiness in Europe," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 15(2), pages 357-386, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:jhappi:v:15:y:2014:i:2:p:357-386
    DOI: 10.1007/s10902-013-9426-y
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    Cited by:

    1. Giuseppina Guagnano & Elisabetta Santarelli & Isabella Santini, 2016. "Can Social Capital Affect Subjective Poverty in Europe? An Empirical Analysis Based on a Generalized Ordered Logit Model," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 128(2), pages 881-907, September.
    2. Sibylle Puntscher & Janette Walde & Gottfried Tappeiner, 2016. "Do methodical traps lead to wrong development strategies for welfare? A multilevel approach considering heterogeneity across industrialized and developing countries," Working Papers 2016-01, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.
    3. Anna Almakaeva & Eduard Ponarin & Christian Welzel, 2014. "Human Development And Generalized Trust: Multilevel Evidence," HSE Working papers WP BRP 58/SOC/2014, National Research University Higher School of Economics.
    4. Rok Spruk & Aleskandar Kešeljević, 2016. "Institutional Origins of Subjective Well-Being: Estimating the Effects of Economic Freedom on National Happiness," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 17(2), pages 659-712, April.
    5. repec:spr:jhappi:v:19:y:2018:i:4:d:10.1007_s10902-017-9859-9 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Nicola Pontarollo & Mercy Orellana Bravo & Joselin Segovia Sarmiento, 2017. "The determinants of subjective wellbeing in a developing country: The Ecuadorian case," JRC Working Papers JRC109319, Joint Research Centre (Seville site).
    7. Stephan Humpert, 2013. "Gender Differences in Life Satisfaction and Social Participation," International Journal of Business and Economic Sciences Applied Research (IJBESAR), Eastern Macedonia and Thrace Institute of Technology (EMATTECH), Kavala, Greece, vol. 6(3), pages 123-142, December.
    8. Efstratia Arampatzi & Martijn J. Burger & Natallia Novik, 2018. "Social Network Sites, Individual Social Capital and Happiness," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 19(1), pages 99-122, January.
    9. repec:spr:jhappi:v:18:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s10902-016-9753-x is not listed on IDEAS
    10. repec:spr:jhappi:v:19:y:2018:i:4:d:10.1007_s10902-016-9840-z is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Iddisah Sulemana, 2015. "An Empirical Investigation of the Relationship Between Social Capital and Subjective Well-Being in Ghana," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 16(5), pages 1299-1321, October.
    12. repec:eee:soceco:v:68:y:2017:i:c:p:62-78 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. repec:spr:jhappi:v:18:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s10902-016-9752-y is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Bodor, Ákos & Grünhut, Zoltán & Horeczki, Réka, 2015. "Socio-cultural Cleavages in Europe," MPRA Paper 73961, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Social capital; Happiness; Trust; Social interaction; Norms and effective sanctions; Europe;

    JEL classification:

    • A13 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Social Values
    • A14 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Sociology of Economics
    • D71 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Social Choice; Clubs; Committees; Associations
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being

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