Social Indicators Research

, Volume 108, Issue 3, pp 453–490 | Cite as

The Relationship Between Social Leisure and Life Satisfaction: Causality and Policy Implications

  • Leonardo Becchetti
  • Elena Giachin Ricca
  • Alessandra PelloniEmail author


Social leisure is generally found to be positively correlated with life satisfaction in the empirical literature. We ask if this association captures a genuine causal effect by using panel data from the GSOEP. Our identification strategy exploits the change in social leisure brought about by retirement, since the latter is an event after which the time investable in (the outside job) relational life increases. We instrument social leisure with various measures of the age cohort specific probability of retirement. With such approach we document that social leisure has a positive and significant effect on life satisfaction. Our findings shed some light on the age-happiness pattern. Policy implications are also discussed.


Life satisfaction Social leisure Retirement 



The ideas for this paper have been discussed in several seminars on the economics of life satisfaction with colleagues such as Stefano Bartolini, Luigino Bruni, Andrew Clark, Raphael Di Tella, Bruno Frey, Benedetto Gui. Luca Stanca Alois Stutzer, Robert Waldmann. We are grateful to them for comments and suggestions received.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Leonardo Becchetti
    • 1
  • Elena Giachin Ricca
    • 2
  • Alessandra Pelloni
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of EconomicsUniversity of Rome “Tor Vergata”RomeItaly
  2. 2.University of Rome “Tor Vergata”RomeItaly
  3. 3.Department of EconomicsUniversity of Rome “Tor Vergata”RomeItaly

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