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Social Capital and Individual Happiness in Europe

  • Andrés Rodriguez-Pose

    (London School of Economics; European Economic Studies Department, College of Europe)

  • Viola von Berlepsch

    (London School of Economics)

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 (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- (1993) and Olson- (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.

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Paper provided by European Economic Studies Department, College of Europe in its series Bruges European Economic Research Papers with number 25.

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Length: 38 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:coe:wpbeer:25
Contact details of provider: Postal: Dijver 11, B-8000 Brugge
Web page: http://www.coleurope.eu
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