nep-hap New Economics Papers
on Economics of Happiness
Issue of 2017‒03‒26
four papers chosen by
Viviana Di Giovinazzo
Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca

  1. Mapping the Dimensions of Social Capital By Katarzyna Growiec; Jakub Growiec; Bogumil Kaminski
  2. Clap along if you know what happiness is to you! Wealth, Trust and Subjective Well-being By Anne MUSSON; Damien ROUSSELIÈRE
  3. Can clean air make you happy? Examining the effect of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) on life satisfaction By Knight, S.J; Howley, P.;
  4. Public Choice and Happiness By Bruno Frey; Alois Stutzer

  1. By: Katarzyna Growiec; Jakub Growiec; Bogumil Kaminski
    Abstract: We provide a novel survey dataset of a representative sample of the Polish population (n = 1000), allowing for a detailed quantification of Bourdieu's (1986) definition of social capital as the aggregate of resources accessible to individuals through their social networks. Based on this data, we create an empirical 'map' of four distinct dimensions of social capital: network degree (number of social ties), network centrality, bridging social capital (ties with dissimilar others), and bonding social capital (ties with similar others, primarily with kin). Construction of the 'map' is based on mutual correlations among the four social capital dimensions as well as their diverse links with immediate outcomes – individuals' social trust and willingness to cooperate - and ultimate outcomes: individual incomes, life satisfaction and happiness.
    Keywords: social capital, social network structure, social trust, willingness to cooperate, new survey dataset
    JEL: D85 J31 Z13
    Date: 2017–03
  2. By: Anne MUSSON (ESSCA Research Lab, Angers, France); Damien ROUSSELIÈRE (SMART-LERECO, AGROCAMPUS OUEST, INRA, Angers, France / CRISES, UQAM, Montreal, Canada)
    Abstract: Social capital and especially trust are the foundation of most personal relationships and it is considered a key factor of many economic and social outcomes since Banfield (1958), Coleman (1990) and Putnam (2000). The purpose of this study is twofold. First, we investigate the role of wealth of countries in explaining trust and another proxy of social capital, the voluntary association membership. Secondly, we analyze the link between wealth, social capital and subjective well-being. This paper answer the following questions: Does living in a richer country enhance the willingness of people to trust each other? Does living in a richer country (regarding total wealth, intangible and social capital) enhance the subjective well-being? Do trust and happiness equations differ across countries, following their wealth structures? Our original empirical approach address simultaneously these three questions, using a recursive mixed-process model, with bootstrapped standard errors accounting for the sampling design. We support the idea that social capital may turn wealth into subjective happiness and can build resilience in time of crisis.
    Keywords: Recursive Mixed-Process Model, Subjective Well-Being; Social Capital; Trust; Voluntary Association Membership; Wealth
    JEL: C35 I31 Z13
    Date: 2017–02
  3. By: Knight, S.J; Howley, P.;
    Abstract: In order to estimate the welfare effects of exposure to nitrogen dioxide (NO2), we combine life satisfaction data from the British Household Panel Survey (BHPS) and UK Household Longitudinal Survey (UKHLS) with detailed air quality records held by the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). To address endogeneity concerns, we linked these with a variety of georeferenced datasets capturing differences in economic, social and environmental conditions across neighbourhoods. We also took advantage of the panel nature of our data by employing individual fixed effects. Our results suggest a significant and negative association between mean annual ambient NO2 and life satisfaction, and moreover that these effects are substantive and comparable to that of many ’big hitting’ life events.
    Keywords: NO2; air pollution; life satisfaction; well-being; environmental quality; Understanding Society; British Household Panel Survey; Geographic Information Systems(GIS),England;
    JEL: Q51 Q53
    Date: 2017–03
  4. By: Bruno Frey; Alois Stutzer
    Abstract: In this contribution, we first discuss how the analysis of self-reported measures of subjective well-being can contribute to a better understanding of the extent to which public choices serve individuals’ preferences. Our research insights will be drawn from the analysis of the well-being consequences of alternative institutional arrangements, the assessment of specific policies, the study of procedural utility, as well as the testing of theoretical predictions derived from models of the political process. Second, we adopt a reverse perspective and discuss how the application of insights from public choice analyses can inform and inspire happiness research on issues related to public policy. In particular, happiness indicators provide new and complementary information about the satisfaction of citizens’ preferences, which will strengthen democratic competition. However, the happiness approach also has clear limitations if it is understood as a decision rule for good policy and the interaction between citizens and the government is reduced to monitoring reported happiness.
    Keywords: happiness; public choice; public policy; subjective well-being
    JEL: D72 I31
    Date: 2017–03

This nep-hap issue is ©2017 by Viviana Di Giovinazzo. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.