Are Happier People Better Citizens?

15 Pages Posted: 18 Apr 2011

See all articles by Cahit Guven

Cahit Guven

Deakin University - School of Accounting, Economics and Finance

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: May 2011


This paper offers new findings which support the hypothesis that a causal link from happiness to social capital might exist. The paper exploits the very long German socio-economic panel of around 15000 people. Using the prospective study methodology, it finds that happier people contribute more to social capital. Both parametric and nonparametric results suggest that there exists an inverted-U shape relationship between happiness to social capital. Moreover, optimism appears to be an important channel through which happiness is linked to social capital. The paper also presents residual happiness as a measure of optimism which might be a valuable tool for empirical researchers. The results are robust to inclusion of various controls including the initial level of social capital, random sampling, non-linearity, different measures of social capital, and estimation techniques.

Suggested Citation

Guven, Cahit, Are Happier People Better Citizens? (May 2011). Kyklos, Vol. 64, No. 2, pp. 178-192, 2011, Available at SSRN: or

Cahit Guven (Contact Author)

Deakin University - School of Accounting, Economics and Finance ( email )

221 Burwood Highway
Burwood, Victoria 3215

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