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Trust and Happiness: Comparative Study Before and After the Great East Japan Earthquake

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  • Eiji Yamamura
  • Yoshiro Tsutsui
  • Chisako Yamane
  • Shoko Yamane
  • Nattavudh Powdthavee

Abstract

The positive relationship between trust and happiness has been demonstrated by the literature. However, it is not clear how much this relationship depends on environmental conditions. The Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011 is considered one of the most catastrophic events in human history. This disaster caused not only physical damage for Japanese people, but also perceived damage. Using individual-level panel data from Japan covering the period 2009-2012, this paper attempts to probe how the relationship between trust and happiness was influenced by the Great East Japan Earthquake by comparing the same individuals before and after the earthquake. A fixed-effects estimation showed that there is a statistically well-determined positive relationship between trust and happiness and this relationship was strengthened by disaster, especially for residents in the damaged area. We argue that social trust is a substitute for formal institutions and markets, which mitigates the effect of disaster-related shock on psychological conditions such as happiness. Therefore, a trustful society is invulnerable to a gigantic disaster.

Suggested Citation

  • Eiji Yamamura & Yoshiro Tsutsui & Chisako Yamane & Shoko Yamane & Nattavudh Powdthavee, 2014. "Trust and Happiness: Comparative Study Before and After the Great East Japan Earthquake," ISER Discussion Paper 0904, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
  • Handle: RePEc:dpr:wpaper:0904
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    Cited by:

    1. John F. Helliwell & Haifang Huang & Shun Wang, 2016. "New Evidence on Trust and Well-being," NBER Working Papers 22450, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Eiji Yamamura & Yoshiro Tsutsui & Fumio Ohtake, 2017. "Altruistic and selfish motivations of charitable giving:Case of the hometown tax donation system in Japan," ISER Discussion Paper 1003, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
    3. Eiji Yamamura & Yoshiro Tsutsui & Fumio Ohtake, 2015. "Relative income position and happiness: are cabinet supporters different from others in Japan?," ISER Discussion Paper 0921, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
    4. Yamamura, Eiji & Tsutsui, Yoshiro & Ohtake, Fumio, 2018. "Altruistic and selfish motivations of charitable giving: The case of the hometown tax donation system (Furusato nozei) in Japan," MPRA Paper 86181, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. repec:eee:soceco:v:68:y:2017:i:c:p:62-78 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. repec:spr:inrvec:v:65:y:2018:i:2:d:10.1007_s12232-017-0290-7 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Saki Sugano, 2016. "The Well-Being of Elderly Survivors after Natural Disasters: Measuring the Impact of the Great East Japan Earthquake," The Japanese Economic Review, Japanese Economic Association, vol. 67(2), pages 211-229, June.
    8. Mika Akesaka, 2018. "Change in Time Preferences: Evidence from the Great East Japan Earthquake," ISER Discussion Paper 1028, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
    9. repec:eee:japwor:v:44:y:2017:i:c:p:1-13 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Yamamura, Eiji, 2015. "Impact of the Fukushima nuclear accident on obesity of children in Japan, using data from 2008 to 2014," MPRA Paper 67076, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. SUGANO Saki, 2015. "The Well-Being of Elderly Survivors after Natural Disasters: Measuring the impact of the Great East Japan Earthquake," Discussion papers 15069, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
    12. Eiji Yamamura, 2015. "Impact of the Fukushima nuclear accident on the body mass index of children in Japan 2010-2014," ISER Discussion Paper 0941, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
    13. Yamamura, Eiji, 2016. "Impact of the Fukushima nuclear accident on obesity of children in Japan (2008–2014)," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 21(C), pages 110-121.
    14. Uslaner, Eric & yamamura, Eiji, 2016. "Disaster and political trust: The Japan Tsunami and Earthquake of 2011," MPRA Paper 70527, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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