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Sociability Predicts Happiness: World-Wide Evidence from Time Series

Author

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  • Stefano Bartolini
  • Ennio Bilancini
  • Francesco Sarracino

Abstract

We provide macro evidence that in the long run the trends of social capital are a strong predictor of the trends of subjective well-being. Our measure of social capital is the individual membership in groups or associations. We apply the bivariate methodology used in Easterlin and Angelescu (2009) to investigate the long run relationship between subjective well-being and income. We consider all countries for which there exist comparable long time series on social capital, for a total of 14 developed and 5 developing countries. Moreover, we provide several robustness checks of Easterlin and Angelescu’s analysis, confirming confirming that they are unrelated in the long-term.

Suggested Citation

  • Stefano Bartolini & Ennio Bilancini & Francesco Sarracino, 2009. "Sociability Predicts Happiness: World-Wide Evidence from Time Series," Department of Economics University of Siena 579, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
  • Handle: RePEc:usi:wpaper:579
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Bartolini, Stefano & Bonatti, Luigi, 2008. "Endogenous growth, decline in social capital and expansion of market activities," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 67(3-4), pages 917-926, September.
    2. Angus Deaton, 2008. "Income, Health, and Well-Being around the World: Evidence from the Gallup World Poll," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 22(2), pages 53-72, Spring.
    3. Stephen Knack & Philip Keefer, 1997. "Does Social Capital Have an Economic Payoff? A Cross-Country Investigation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 112(4), pages 1251-1288.
    4. Robert J. Barro, 1998. "Determinants of Economic Growth: A Cross-Country Empirical Study," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262522543, December.
    5. Frey, Bruno S & Stutzer, Alois, 2000. "Happiness, Economy and Institutions," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(466), pages 918-938, October.
    6. Leonardo Becchetti & Elena Giachin Ricca & Alessandra Pelloni, 2009. "The 60s Turnaround as a Test on the Causal Relationship between Sociability and Happiness," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 209, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    7. Betsey Stevenson & Justin Wolfers, 2008. "Economic Growth and Subjective Well-Being: Reassessing the Easterlin Paradox," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 39(1 (Spring), pages 1-102.
    8. Layard, Richard & Mayraz, Guy & Nickell, Stephen, 2009. "Does relative income matter? Are the critics right?," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 28594, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    9. David G. Blanchflower, 2009. "International Evidence on Well-Being," NBER Chapters, in: Measuring the Subjective Well-Being of Nations: National Accounts of Time Use and Well-Being, pages 155-226, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. John F. Helliwell, 2006. "Well-Being, Social Capital and Public Policy: What's New?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 116(510), pages 34-45, March.
    11. Leonardo Becchetti & Alessandra Pelloni & Fiammetta Rossetti, 2008. "Relational Goods, Sociability, and Happiness," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(3), pages 343-363, August.
    12. Stefano Bartolini & Ennio Bilancini & Francesco Sarracino, 2013. "Predicting the Trend of Well-Being in Germany: How Much Do Comparisons, Adaptation and Sociability Matter?," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 114(2), pages 169-191, November.
    13. Bruno S. Frey, 2018. "Economics of Happiness," SpringerBriefs in Economics, Springer, number 978-3-319-75807-7, March.
    14. Paul F. Whiteley, 2000. "Economic Growth and Social Capital," Political Studies, Political Studies Association, vol. 48(3), pages 443-466, June.
    15. Easterlin, Richard A. & Angelescu McVey, Laura, 2009. "Happiness and Growth the World Over: Time Series Evidence on the Happiness-Income Paradox," IZA Discussion Papers 4060, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Ca va comme un dimanche...
      by obouba in Olivier Bouba-Olga on 2009-11-29 17:45:00
    2. Some new happiness research
      by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2009-11-24 20:04:24

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Maria Bachelet & Leonardo Becchetti & Fabiola Ricciardini, 2015. "Not Feeling Well… (True or Exhaggerated ?) Health (un)Satisfaction as a Leading Health Indicator," CEIS Research Paper 336, Tor Vergata University, CEIS, revised 02 Apr 2015.
    2. Ferreira-Lopes, Alexandra & Roseta-Palma, Catarina & Sequeira, Tiago Neves, 2012. "When sociable workers pay off: Can firms internalize social capital externalities?," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 127-136.
    3. Petri Böckerman & Jani-Petri Laamanen & Esa Palosaari, 2016. "The Role of Social Ties in Explaining Heterogeneity in the Association Between Economic Growth and Subjective Well-Being," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 17(6), pages 2457-2479, December.
    4. repec:hig:wpaper:82/soc/2017 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Maria Kravtsova & Aleksey Oshchepkov & Christian Welzel, 2018. "The Shadow Of The Family: Historical Roots Of Social Capital In Europe," HSE Working papers WP BRP 82/SOC/2018, National Research University Higher School of Economics.
    6. Francesco Sarracino, 2012. "Money, Sociability and Happiness: Are Developed Countries Doomed to Social Erosion and Unhappiness?," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 109(2), pages 135-188, November.
    7. 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.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    subjective well-being; life satisfaction; social capital; sociability; relational goods; time-trends;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

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

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