Did the Decline in Social Capital Depress Americans' Happiness?

52 Pages Posted: 7 Aug 2008

See all articles by Stefano Bartolini

Stefano Bartolini

University of Siena - Department of Economics

Ennio Bilancini

University of Siena - Deparment of Economics

Maurizio Pugno

University of Cassino - Department of Economics and Law

Date Written: August 2, 2008

Abstract

Most popular explanations cannot fully account for the declining trend of U.S. reported well-being during the last thirty years. We test the hypothesis that the relationship between social capital and happiness at the individual level accounts for what is left unexplained by previous research. We provide three main findings. First, several indicators of social capital are significantly correlated with reported happiness. Second, social capital indicators for the period 1975-2004 show a declining trend. Finally, the trend of happiness can be largely accounted for by the increasing trend of income, the increasing trend of reference income and the declining trend of social capital - in particular by the decline of its relational and non-instrumental components.

Keywords: happiness, social capital, economic growth, relational goods, intrinsic motivations

JEL Classification: I3, O1

Suggested Citation

Bartolini, Stefano and Bilancini, Ennio and Pugno, Maurizio, Did the Decline in Social Capital Depress Americans' Happiness? (August 2, 2008). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1210118 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1210118

Stefano Bartolini

University of Siena - Department of Economics ( email )

Piazza S. Francesco, 7
Siena, I-53100
Italy
+05 77 232648 (Phone)
+05 77 232661 (Fax)

Ennio Bilancini (Contact Author)

University of Siena - Deparment of Economics ( email )

Via Banchi di Sotto, 55
Siena
Italy

Maurizio Pugno

University of Cassino - Department of Economics and Law ( email )

Campus Folcara
Cassino, Frosinone 03034
Italy

HOME PAGE: http://mauriziopugno.com/en/

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