Journal of Happiness Studies

, Volume 15, Issue 3, pp 527–554 | Cite as

Social Interactions and Life Satisfaction: Evidence from Latin America

  • Victoria Ateca-Amestoy
  • Alexandra Cortés Aguilar
  • Ana I. Moro-EgidoEmail author
Research Paper


In this paper, we seek to examine the effect of social comparisons and of social capital on life satisfaction over a sample of Latin American countries. We test if, through social influence and exposure, social capital is either an enhancer or appeaser of the effect of social comparisons of material conditions in life satisfaction. Using the Latinobarómetro Survey (2007) we find, contrary to the existing literature that, the better others perform in the material dimension, the happier the individual is. We also find that social capital is among the strongest correlates of individuals’ life satisfaction. Our findings suggest that social contacts may enhance the effect of social comparisons, which is more intense for those who perform worse in their reference group.


Social comparisons Social capital Life satisfaction Intensity of social interactions 



We would like to acknowledge the comments of M. Teresa Muñoz Garcia. We are also grateful to the comments of the participants in the ISQOL2012 Conference. The financial support from the Spanish Women’s Institute and Ministry of Science and Technology ECO2009-10818 and the Basque Government IT241-07 granted to Victoria Ateca-Amestoy and from the Spanish Ministry of Education through grant ECO2012-33993 to Ana I. Moro-Egido is gratefully acknowledged. All errors are solely ours.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Victoria Ateca-Amestoy
    • 1
  • Alexandra Cortés Aguilar
    • 2
  • Ana I. Moro-Egido
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.University of Basque CountryBilbaoSpain
  2. 2.Universidad Industrial de SantanderBucaramangaColombia
  3. 3.University of GranadaGranadaSpain

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