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Money, sociability and happiness : are developed countries doomed to social erosion and unhappiness?

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  • SARRACINO Francesco

Abstract

Discovering whether social capital endowments in modern societies have been subjected or not to a process of gradual erosion is one of the most debated topics in recent economic literature. Inaugurated by Putnam?s pioneering studies, the debate on social capital trends has been recently revived by Stevenson and Wolfers (2008) contending Easterlin?s assessment. Present work is aimed at finding evidence for the relationship between changes in social capital and subjective well-being in eight European countries and in Japan between 1980 and 2005. In particular, I would like to answer questions such as: 1) is social capital in western Europe, Canada, Australia and Japan declining? Is such erosion a general trend of modern and richer societies or is it a characteristic feature of the American one? 2) can social capital trend help explain subjective well-being trend? In so doing, present research considers three different set of proxies of social capital controlling for time and socio-demographic aspects using WVS-EVS data between 1980 and 2005. My results are encouraging, showing evidence of positive correlation between several proxies of social capital and both happiness and life satisfaction. Furthermore, my results show that during last twenty-five years people in some of the most modern and developed countries have persistently lost confidence in the judicial system, religious institutions, parliament and civil service.

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  • SARRACINO Francesco, 2011. "Money, sociability and happiness : are developed countries doomed to social erosion and unhappiness?," LISER Working Paper Series 2011-02, LISER.
  • Handle: RePEc:irs:cepswp:2011-02
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    Cited by:

    1. Giorgio Calcagnini & Francesco Perugini, 2016. "A Well-Being Indicator for the Italian Provinces a," Working Papers 1608, University of Urbino Carlo Bo, Department of Economics, Society & Politics - Scientific Committee - L. Stefanini & G. Travaglini, revised 2016.
    2. Piekalkiewicz, Marcin, 2016. "Money, Social Capital and Materialism. Evidence from Happiness Data," MPRA Paper 70522, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Stefano Bartolini, 2018. "Social capital as disease prevention," Department of Economics University of Siena 778, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
    4. Stefano Bartolini & Małgorzata Mikucka & Francesco Sarracino, 2017. "Money, Trust and Happiness in Transition Countries: Evidence from Time Series," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 130(1), pages 87-106, January.
    5. Tatiana Karabchuk, 2016. "The subjective well-being of women in Europe: children, work and employment protection legislation," Mind & Society: Cognitive Studies in Economics and Social Sciences, Springer;Fondazione Rosselli, vol. 15(2), pages 219-245, November.
    6. repec:spr:soinre:v:133:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s11205-016-1381-7 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Sarracino, Francesco & Mikucka, Malgorzata, 2015. "Social capital in Europe from 1990 to 2012: trends, path-dependency and convergence," MPRA Paper 63619, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. M. Hussain, 2014. "The Robustness of High Danish National Happiness: A Temporal Cross-Country Analysis of Population Subgroups," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 118(2), pages 759-774, September.
    9. Yamamura, Eiji, 2014. "Identity, Nostalgia and Happiness among Migrants: The Case of the Kōshien High School Baseball Tournament in Japan," MPRA Paper 53776, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. Francesco Sarracino, 2014. "Richer in Money, Poorer in Relationships and Unhappy? Time Series Comparisons of Social Capital and Well-Being in Luxembourg," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 115(2), pages 561-622, January.
    11. Stefano Bartolini, 2014. "Building sustainability through greater happiness," Department of Economics University of Siena 703, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
    12. Stefano Bartolini & Francesco Sarracino, 2017. "Twenty-Five Years of Materialism: Do the US and Europe Diverge?," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 133(2), pages 787-817, September.
    13. Mikucka, Malgorzata & Sarracino, Francesco, 2014. "Making economic growth and well-being compatible: the role of trust and income inequality," MPRA Paper 59695, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    14. Bartolini, Stefano & Sarracino, Francesco & Theis, Laurent, 2014. "Do people care for a sustainable future? Evidence from happiness data," MPRA Paper 58400, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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    Keywords

    subjective well-being; social capital; relational goods; Easterlin paradox; time-series; economic development; EVS; WVS;

    JEL classification:

    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D60 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - General
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General

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