Contextual Social Trust and Well-Being Inequality: From the Perspectives of Education and Income

  • Naoki AkaedaEmail author
Research Paper


In recent decades, much attention has been paid to subjective well-being (SWB). Extensive research in several fields has frequently examined the determinants of SWB, and previous studies have reported well-being inequality within countries due to education and household income. However, knowledge regarding how well-being inequality due to education and household income varies among countries is limited. To fill this gap, this paper examines whether contextual social trust as a country characteristic reduces well-being inequality due to education and household income. This analysis employs repeated cross-sectional international comparative data from four waves of the European Quality of Life Survey conducted between 2003 and 2016 and two types of multilevel modeling, namely, three-level multilevel models with year fixed effects and cross-classified full models, to examine the cross-level interaction effects of contextual social trust and education and of contextual social trust and household income on SWB. By conducting an international comparative analysis, the present study has found that contextual social trust has negative moderation effects on the association between education and SWB and the association between household income and SWB. These results indicate that high contextual social trust reduces well-being inequality due to education and household income by improving the SWB of citizens with lower positions.


Contextual social capital Well-being inequality Education Household income Comparative longitudinal survey data Three-level multilevel modeling 



The author is grateful for the helpful comments and suggestions offered by Nadine Schöneck.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

10902_2019_209_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (432 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 431 kb)


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of SociologyKansai UniversitySuita-shiJapan

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