Journal of Happiness Studies

, Volume 17, Issue 2, pp 569–586 | Cite as

Structural Social Capital, Household Income and Life Satisfaction: The Evidence from Beijing, Shanghai and Guangdong-Province, China

  • Hao YuanEmail author
Research Paper


Although the positive associations between social capital, household income and life satisfaction are well documented, little is known about how income actually shapes the relation between structural social capital and life satisfaction. This study investigates the roles of economic condition in determining the relationships between life satisfaction and three aspects of structural social capital, namely network size, neighborhood interaction and social participation. This study uses a random sample of 6002 adults nested in 2365 families from three regions in China: Beijing, Shanghai and Guangdong-province and applies multilevel linear regression models. The results firstly show that household income and structural social capital are positively associated with life satisfaction. Further analyses on the interaction effects find that household income substantively reduces the association between a social network size and life satisfaction but increases the relationship between social participation and life satisfaction. In addition, the differences between families explain about 25 % unexplained variances of life satisfaction.


Structural social capital Income Life satisfaction China 



I am grateful to Dan Ma, Mayank Golpelwar, Meng Chen, Valerie Moller and four anonymous referees for useful comments and suggestions. I gratefully acknowledge support from the national key project on harmonious interaction of social stratification and mobility (11&ZD035) and Shanghai University First Discipline Project (B). The usual disclaimer applies.


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Sociology and Political SciencesShanghai UniversityShanghaiChina

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