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Social capital and individual happiness in Europe

Rodríguez-Pose, Andrés ORCID: 0000-0002-8041-0856 and Berlepsch, Viola (2014) Social capital and individual happiness in Europe. Journal of Happiness Studies, 15 (2). pp. 357-386. ISSN 1389-4978

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Identification Number: 10.1007/s10902-013-9426-y


This paper explores the relationship between social capital and happiness both in Europe as a whole, as well as in its four main geographical macro-regions-North, South, East and West-separately. We test the hypothesis of whether social capital, in its three-fold definition established by Coleman (Am J Sociol 94:S95-S120 1988)-trust, social interaction, and norms and sanctions-influences individual happiness across European countries and regions. The concept of social capital is further enriched by incorporating Putnam (Making democracy work-civic traditions in modern Italy. Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1993) and Olson (The rise and decline of nations-economic growth, stagflation, and social rigidities. Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 1982) type variables on associational activity. Using ordinal logistic regression analysis on data for 48,583 individuals from 25 European countries, we reach three main findings. First, social capital matters for happiness across the three dimensions considered. Second, the main drivers of the effects of social capital on happiness appear to be informal social interaction and general social, as well as institutional trust. And third, there are significant differences in how social capital interacts with happiness across different areas of Europe, with the connection being at is weakest in the Nordic countries.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2014 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht
Divisions: European Institute
Geography & Environment
Spatial Economics Research Centre
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Date Deposited: 27 Mar 2013 14:21
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 03:18
Projects: FP7/2007-2013, 269868
Funders: European Research Council under the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme, European Research Council (ERC)

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