NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Well-Being, Social Capital and Public Policy: What's New?

John Helliwell

NBER Working Paper No. 11807
Issued in December 2005
NBER Program(s):   LS

This paper summarizes recent empirical research on the determinants of subjective well-being. Results from national and international samples suggest that measures of social capital, including especially the corollary measures of specific and general trust, have substantial effects on well-being beyond those flowing through economic channels. Cross-national samples (supported by parallel analysis of suicide data) show large well-being effects from social capital and from the quality of government. Finally, Canadian life-satisfaction data show that several non-financial job characteristics, and especially the climate of workplace trust, have very large income-equivalent effects.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w11807

Published: Helliwell, John F. "Well-Being, Social Capital And Public Policy: What's New?," Economic Journal, 2006, v116(510,Mar), C34-C45. citation courtesy of

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