Journal of Happiness Studies

, Volume 15, Issue 1, pp 145–162 | Cite as

Social Capital and Well-Being in Times of Crisis

  • John F. HelliwellEmail author
  • Haifang Huang
  • Shun Wang
Research Paper


This paper attempts to show how the quality of the social fabric of a community or nation affects its capacity to deal with crises and to develop human and natural resources in ways that maintain and sustainably improve subjective well-being. Three types of crisis will be used as examples. These include economic crises; transition and other institutional crises; and conflicts over sustainable resource use. The bulk of the new results in this paper relate to economic crises and institutional transitions, and shows that communities and nations with better social capital and trust respond to crises and transitions more happily and effectively.


Subjective well-being Happiness Social capital Economic crises Transition Sustainable development Social context 



This research is part of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR) Program in Social Interactions, Identity and Well-Being. Wang is supported by the research fund offered by Korea Development Institute (KDI) School of Public Policy and Management for "Inequality and Subjective Well-Being" project. Authors are very grateful to the anonymous referees for their helpful comments.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CIFAR Programme, Vancouver School of EconomicsUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  2. 2.Department of EconomicsUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada
  3. 3.School of Public Policy and ManagementKorea Development Institute (KDI)SeoulSouth Korea

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