Life Satisfaction, Social Capital and the Bonding-Bridging Nexus

37 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2016

See all articles by Maurizio Pugno

Maurizio Pugno

University of Cassino - Department of Economics and Law

Paolo Verme

World Bank Group; University of Turin - Department of Economics

Date Written: January 1, 2012

Abstract

The paper investigates the relation between social capital and life satisfaction focusing on the distinction between bonding and bridging. Using the latest version of the combined World and European Values Surveys, the authors first address the question of measurement of social capital by means of a multi-step factor analysis. Through this procedure, they nd that proxies typically used for social capital tend to polarize around two dimensions interpreted as bonding and bridging. These two dimensions are in fact associated with a single latent variable with opposite signs suggesting that they describe two sides of the same latent variable rather than two independent latent variables. The authors call this latent variable the locus of socializing and use it to explore the relation between social capital and life satisfaction across world citizens and across groups of similar countries. The results indicate that people with extreme bonding or bridging attitudes are less happy than people with more balanced attitudes. Unlike the literature on social capital and economic growth that finds bridging attitudes more desirable than bonding attitudes, they nd that bonding attitudes are at least as important as bridging attitudes for life satisfaction. This suggests that the social capital dimensions important for economic growth may not necessarily coincide with the social capital dimensions important for life satisfaction.

Keywords: Social Capital, Economic Theory & Research, Social Inclusion & Institutions, Cultural Policy, Labor Policies

Suggested Citation

Pugno, Maurizio and Verme, Paolo, Life Satisfaction, Social Capital and the Bonding-Bridging Nexus (January 1, 2012). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 5945. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1984500

Maurizio Pugno (Contact Author)

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

Campus Folcara
Cassino, Frosinone 03034
Italy

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

Paolo Verme

World Bank Group ( email )

Washington, DC 20433
United States

University of Turin - Department of Economics ( email )

Via Po, 53
Torino, 10124
Italy

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