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Social Participation and Hours Worked


  • Stefano Bartolini


  • Ennio Bilancini



We investigate the relationship between social participation and the hours worked in the market. Social participation is the component of social capital that measures individuals’ engament in groups, associations and non-governmental organizations. We provide a model of consumer choice where social participation may be either a substitute or a complement to material consumption – depending on whether participation is instrumentally or non-instrumentally motivated – and where a local environment with greater social participation increases the return to individual participation. We carry out an empirical investigation of this framework using survey data on United States for the period 1972-2004. We find that non-instrumental social participation substantially decreases the hours worked, while instrumental social participation substantially increases them. Moreover, evidence is consistent with the idea that a local environment with greater social participation fosters individual social participation.

Suggested Citation

  • Stefano Bartolini & Ennio Bilancini, 2011. "Social Participation and Hours Worked," Department of Economics University of Siena 620, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
  • Handle: RePEc:usi:wpaper:620

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Stefano Bartolini & Ennio Bilancini & Maurizio Pugno, 2008. "Did the Decline in Social Capital Depress Americans’ Happiness?," Department of Economics University of Siena 540, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
    2. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2010. "Recent Advances in the Economics of Individual Subjective Well-Being," Working papers 2010/04, Faculty of Business and Economics - University of Basel.
    3. Rupasingha, Anil & Goetz, Stephan J. & Freshwater, David, 2006. "The production of social capital in US counties," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 83-101, February.
    4. Becchetti, Leonardo & Pelloni, Alessandra & Rossetti, Fiammetta, 2007. "Sociability and Happiness," AICCON Working Papers 44-2007, Associazione Italiana per la Cultura della Cooperazione e del Non Profit.
    5. Edward L. Glaeser & David I. Laibson & José A. Scheinkman & Christine L. Soutter, 2000. "Measuring Trust," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 811-846.
      • Glaeser, Edward Ludwig & Laibson, David I. & Scheinkman, Jose A. & Soutter, Christine L., 2000. "Measuring Trust," Scholarly Articles 4481497, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    6. Bartolini, Stefano & Bonatti, Luigi, 2002. "Environmental and social degradation as the engine of economic growth," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 1-16, November.
    7. Sarracino, Francesco, 2010. "Social capital and subjective well-being trends: Comparing 11 western European countries," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 39(4), pages 482-517, August.
    8. Bruni, Luigino & Stanca, Luca, 2008. "Watching alone: Relational goods, television and happiness," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 65(3-4), pages 506-528, March.
    9. John F. Helliwell, 2008. "Life Satisfaction and Quality of Development," NBER Working Papers 14507, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Bartolini, Stefano & Bonatti, Luigi, 2007. "Endogenous growth, decline in social capital and expansion of market activities," MPRA Paper 3341, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. Stefano Bartolini & Ennio Bilancini, 2010. "If not only GDP, what else? Using relational goods to predict the trends of subjective well-being," International Review of Economics, Springer;Happiness Economics and Interpersonal Relations (HEIRS), vol. 57(2), pages 199-213, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Fabio Sabatini & Francesco Sarracino, 2014. "E-participation: Social Capital and the Internet," Working Papers 2014.81, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    2. Fabio Sabatini & Francesco Sarracino, 2013. "Will Facebook save or destroy social capital? An empirical investigation into the effect of online interactions on trust and networks," Department of Economics University of Siena 692, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
    3. Angelo Antoci & Fabio Sabatini & Mauro Sodini, 2013. "Economic Growth, Technological Progress and Social Capital: The Inverted U Hypothesis," Metroeconomica, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 64(3), pages 401-431, July.
    4. Antoci, Angelo & Sabatini, Fabio & Sodini, Mauro, 2014. "Online and offline social participation and social poverty traps. Can social networks save human relations?," MPRA Paper 55703, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Angelo Antoci & Alexia Delfino & Fabio Paglieri & Fabio Sabatini, 2016. "The ecology of social interactions in online and offline environments," Papers 1601.07776,
    6. Stefano Bartolini, 2014. "Building sustainability through greater happiness," Department of Economics University of Siena 703, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
    7. Sabatini, Fabio & Sarracino, Francesco, 2015. "Online social networks and trust," MPRA Paper 62506, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item


    social participation; relational goods; social capital; work hours; instrumental and non-instrumental motivations;

    JEL classification:

    • A13 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Social Values
    • D62 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Externalities
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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