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Relational Goods, Sociability, and happiness

The role of sociability and relational goods has generally been neglected in the formulation of standard economics textbook preferences. Our findings show that relational goods have significant and positive effects on self declared life satisfaction, net of the impact of other concurring factors. We also document that such effects persist when the equally significant inverse causality nexus is taken into account. This implies that a more intense relational life enhances life satisfaction and, at the same time, happier people have a more lively social life. Finally, we show that gender, age and education matter by showing that the effects of sociability on happiness are stronger for women, older and less educated individuals.

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Paper provided by Tor Vergata University, CEIS in its series CEIS Research Paper with number 117.

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Length: 27 pages
Date of creation: 14 Jul 2008
Date of revision: 14 Jul 2008
Handle: RePEc:rtv:ceisrp:117
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  1. Bruno S. Frey & Simon Luechinger & Alois Stutzer, 2004. "Valuing Public Goods: The Life Satisfaction Approach," CESifo Working Paper Series 1158, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2001. "What Can Economists Learn from Happiness Research?," CESifo Working Paper Series 503, CESifo Group Munich.
  3. Paul Frijters & John P. Haisken-DeNew & Michael A. Shields, 2004. "Investigating the Patterns and Determinants of Life Satisfaction in Germany Following Reunification," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(3).
  4. Stutzer, Alois & Frey, Bruno S., 2006. "Does marriage make people happy, or do happy people get married?," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 326-347, April.
  5. Luigino Bruni & Luca Stanca, 2005. "Watching alone: Relational Goods, Television and Happiness," Working Papers 90, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised Jun 2005.
  6. Gardner, Jonathan & Oswald, Andrew, 2004. "How is mortality affected by money, marriage, and stress?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(6), pages 1181-1207, November.
  7. Sugden, Robert, 2002. "Beyond sympathy and empathy: Adam Smith's concept of fellow-feeling," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 18(01), pages 63-87, April.
  8. Andrew E. Clark & Paul Frijters & Michael A. Shields, 2006. "Income and happiness: Evidence, explanations and economic implications," PSE Working Papers halshs-00590436, HAL.
  9. Benedetto Gui, 2000. "Beyond Transactions: On the Interpersonal Dimension of Economic Reality," Annals of Public and Cooperative Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 71(2), pages 139-169, 06.
  10. Paul Frijters & Ingo Geishecker & John P. Haisken-DeNew & Michael A. Shields, 2006. "Can the Large Swings in Russian Life Satisfaction be Explained by Ups and Downs in Real Incomes?," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 108(3), pages 433-458, October.
  11. Stephan Meier & Alois Stutzer, . "Is Volunteering Rewarding in Itself?," IEW - Working Papers 180, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  12. Paul Frijters & John P. Haisken-DeNew & Michael A. Shields, 2004. "Money Does Matter! Evidence from Increasing Real Income and Life Satisfaction in East Germany Following Reunification," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(3), pages 730-740, June.
  13. Ferrer-i-Carbonell, Ada, 2005. "Income and well-being: an empirical analysis of the comparison income effect," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(5-6), pages 997-1019, June.
  14. Diwan, Romesh, 2000. "Relational wealth and the quality of life," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 305-340, July.
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