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Building sustainability through greater happiness

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  • Stefano Bartolini

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Abstract

The current unsustainable growth of the world economy is largely a consequence of the crisis of social capital experienced by much of the world's population. Declining social capital leads the economies to excessive growth, because people seek economic affluence as compensation for the emotional distress and loss of resources caused by scarce social and affective relationships. To slow down economic growth requires an increase in social capital that is a fundamental contributor to happiness. From a wide range of possible approaches to increasing present happiness, this article suggests policies that would shift the economy to a more sustainable path. It focuses on a more politically sustainable set of proposals for a green ‘new deal’ than some of those currently under discussion.

Suggested Citation

  • Stefano Bartolini, 2014. "Building sustainability through greater happiness," Department of Economics University of Siena 703, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
  • Handle: RePEc:usi:wpaper:703
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    File URL: http://repec.deps.unisi.it/quaderni/703.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Zak, Paul J & Knack, Stephen, 2001. "Trust and Growth," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(470), pages 295-321, April.
    2. 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.
    3. Stephen Knack & Philip Keefer, 1997. "Does Social Capital Have an Economic Payoff? A Cross-Country Investigation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1251-1288.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. Bartolini, Stefano & Sarracino, Francesco, 2014. "The dark side of Chinese growth: Explaining decreasing well-being in times of economic boom," MPRA Paper 57765, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Jayadev, Arjun & Bowles, Samuel, 2006. "Guard labor," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(2), pages 328-348, April.
    8. Bromley, Daniel W., 1998. "Searching for sustainability: The poverty of spontaneous order," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(2-3), pages 231-240, February.
    9. BARTOLINI Stefano & SARRACINO Francesco, 2011. "Happy for How Long? How Social Capital and GDP relate to Happiness over Time," LISER Working Paper Series 2011-60, LISER.
    10. Stefano Bartolini & Ennio Bilancini, 2011. "Social Participation and Hours Worked," Department of Economics University of Siena 620, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
    11. 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.
    12. 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.
    13. Stefano Bartolini & Ennio Bilancini & Maurizio Pugno, 2013. "Did the Decline in Social Connections Depress Americans’ Happiness?," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 110(3), pages 1033-1059, February.
    14. Knight, John, 2013. "The economic causes and consequences of social instability in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 25(C), pages 17-26.
    15. 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.
    16. repec:spr:soinre:v:133:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s11205-016-1381-7 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. 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.
    18. Stephen A Marglin, 2013. "Premises for a New Economy*," Development, Palgrave Macmillan;Society for International Deveopment, vol. 56(2), pages 149-154, June.
    19. Bartolini, Stefano & Bonatti, Luigi, 2007. "Endogenous growth, decline in social capital and expansion of market activities," MPRA Paper 3341, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:col:000093:016014 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Mikucka, Malgorzata & Sarracino, Francesco & Dubrow, Joshua K., 2017. "When Does Economic Growth Improve Life Satisfaction? Multilevel Analysis of the Roles of Social Trust and Income Inequality in 46 Countries, 1981–2012," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 447-459.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Common good; environmentalism; ecologism; economic growth; green economy; happiness; negative endogenous growth; private affluence; social capital; social stress; well-being.;

    JEL classification:

    • A13 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Social Values
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • D90 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - General
    • E20 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)
    • F01 - International Economics - - General - - - Global Outlook
    • 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
    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General

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