Journal of Happiness Studies

, Volume 16, Issue 5, pp 1231–1246 | Cite as

The Impact of Social Capital on Subjective Well-Being: A Regional Perspective

  • Sibylle PuntscherEmail author
  • Christoph Hauser
  • Janette Walde
  • Gottfried Tappeiner
Research Paper


This study analyses the determinants of the most widely used indicators of subjective well-being (SWB), namely life satisfaction and happiness, within European regions. In particular, we assess to what extent these two measures are related to strictly economic factors or alternatively are driven by social and institutional settings. Our analyses extend the corresponding literature by (1) focusing on European regions instead of nations of the whole world and thus allowing for intra-national differences; (2) highlighting the impact of social capital considered in a broad manner covering general trust, institutional trust, associational activity and the close social ties; and (3) modelling possible spatial influences from the neighbouring regions by estimating a spatial error model. The results indicate that such spatial autocorrelations indeed exist and that the various social capital components are major impact factors alongside the conventional determinants health, religion and unemployment, but that income does not exhibit a statistically significant influence on the SWB of the European regions considered.


Subjective well-being Life satisfaction Happiness Social capital European regions Spatial analyses 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sibylle Puntscher
    • 1
    Email author
  • Christoph Hauser
    • 1
  • Janette Walde
    • 2
  • Gottfried Tappeiner
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of EconomicsUniversity of InnsbruckInnsbruckAustria
  2. 2.Department of StatisticsUniversity of InnsbruckInnsbruckAustria

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