Advertisement

Social Indicators Research

, Volume 110, Issue 3, pp 891–911 | Cite as

Social Capital or Social Cohesion: What Matters For Subjective Well-Being?

  • Carlo KleinEmail author
Article

Abstract

The theoretical analysis of the concepts of social capital and of social cohesion shows that social capital should be considered as a micro concept whereas social cohesion, being a broader concept than social capital, is a more appropriate concept for macro analysis. Therefore, we suggest that data on the individual level should only be used to analyze the relationship between social capital, social cohesion indicators and subjective well-being and that they do not allow commenting on the level of social cohesion in a society. For this last type of analyses aggregated indicators of social cohesion have to be computed which is not the issue of this paper. Our empirical analysis is based on individual data for Luxembourg in 2008. In general, our results suggest that investments in social capital generate monetary returns (increased income) and psychic returns (increased subjective well-being) even in a highly developed and multicultural country like Luxembourg. When we are adding on the micro level variables representing the economic domain of social cohesion following Bernard (1999), then we observe that this domain also has an effect on income and on subjective well-being. Therefore, we recommend including the economic domain in any future analysis using the concept of social cohesion.

Keywords

Social capital Social cohesion Subjective well-being EVS 2008 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This research is part of the VALCOS project supported by the Luxembourg ‘Fonds National de la Recherche’ (contract FNR/VIVRE/06/01/09) and by core funding for CEPS/INSTEAD from the Ministry of Higher Education and Research of Luxembourg. The author would like to thank the two anonymous reviewers, the VALCOS team and the participants at the International conference “Market and Happiness” (Milan, June 8–9, 2011) for their comments on an earlier draft of this paper.

References

  1. Acket, S., Borsenberger, M., Dickes, P., & Sarracino, F. (2011). Measuring and validating social cohesion: A bottom-up approach. Working paper no 201108, CEPS/INSTEAD. Google Scholar
  2. Bartolini, S., Bilancini, E., & Pugno, M. (2008). Did the decline in social capital depress Americans’ happiness? Quaderni del dipartimento di economia politica, n. 540, University of Siena.Google Scholar
  3. Becker, G. S. (Ed.) (1996). Preferences and values. In Accounting for tastes (pp. 3–23). Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Bernard P. (1999). Social cohesion: A critique. CPRN Discussion paper no F 09, Canadian Policy Research Networks.Google Scholar
  5. Bourdieu, P. (1980). Le capital social. Notes provisoires. Actes de la Recherche en Sciences Sociales, 31(1), 2–3.Google Scholar
  6. Bourdieu, P. (1986). The forms of capital. In J. Richardson (Ed.), Handbook of theory and research for the sociology of education (pp. 241–258). Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press.Google Scholar
  7. Chan, J., To, H.-P., & Chan, E. (2006). Reconsidering social cohesion: Developing a definition and analytical framework for empirical research. Social Indicators Research, 75, 273–302.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Clark, A., Frijters, P., & Shields, M. (2008). Relative income, happiness, and utility: An explanation for the easterlin paradox and other puzzles. Journal of Economic Literature, 46(1), 95–144.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Coleman, J. (1990). Foundations of social theory. Cambridge and London: Belkamp Press of Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Council of Europe. (2008). Well-being for allconcepts and tools for social cohesion, Trends in social cohesion, p. 20.Google Scholar
  11. Dasgupta, P. (2010). A matter of trust: Social capital and economic development. SCI Discussion Paper, The University of Manchester.Google Scholar
  12. Dayton-Johnson, J. (2003). Social capital, social cohesion, community: A microeconomic analysis. In L. Osberg (Ed.), The economic implications of social cohesion (pp. 43–78). Toronto: University of Toronto Press.Google Scholar
  13. Dickes, P. (2011). Vérification et affinement des échelles d’égalitaruisme du fichier Luxembourg 2008. Note de recherche pour l’égalitarisme. Internal document CEPS/INSTEAD.Google Scholar
  14. Dickes, P., Valentova, M., & Borsenberger, M. (2008). Social cohesion: Measurement based on the EVS micro data. Statistica Applicata, 20(2), 1–16.Google Scholar
  15. Dickes, P., Valentova, M., & Borsenberger, M. (2009). Construct validation and application of a common measure of social cohesion in 33 European countries. Social Indicators Research. doi: 10.1007/s11205-009-9551-5. Accessed 4 May 2010.
  16. Easterlin, R. (2001). Income and happiness: Towards a unified theory. The Economic Journal, 111, 465–484.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Eurostat. (2009). Structural indicators; social cohesion. http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/portal/page/portal/structural_indicators/indicators/social_cohesion. Accessed 2 Feb 2010.
  18. Ferrer-i-Carbonell, A., & Frijters, P. (2004). How important is methodology for the estimates of the determinants of happiness? Economic Journal, 114(497), 641–659.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Frey, B. (2008). Happiness. A revolution in economics. Cambridge, Massachusetts, London, England: The MIT Press.Google Scholar
  20. Frey, B. S., & Stutzer, A. (2002a). What can economists learn from happiness research? Journal of Economic Literature, XL, 402–435.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Frey, B. S., & Stutzer, A. (2002b). Happiness and economics. How the economy and institutions affect well-being. Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  22. Frey, B. S., Benz, M., & Stutzer, A. (2004). Introducing procedural utility: Not only what, but also how matters. Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics, 160, 377–401.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Friedkin, N. E. (2004). Social cohesion. Annual Review of Sociology, 30, 409–425.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Greene, W. H. (2008). Econometric analysis (6th ed.). New Jersey: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  25. Hausemer, G. (2008). A propos… du Luxembourg multiculturel. Service information et presse du gouvernement du Luxembourg (SIP).Google Scholar
  26. Hausman, D., & McPherson, M. (2006). Economic analysis, moral philosophy, and public policy (Second ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Helliwell, J., Barrington-Leigh, C. (2010). Measuring and understanding subjective well-being. NBER working paper series.Google Scholar
  28. Hulse, K., & Stone, W. (2007). Social cohesion, social capital and social exclusion: A cross cultural comparison. Policy Studies, 28(2), 109–128.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. International Monetary Fund. (2011). World economic outlook database-April 2011. http://imf.org/external/pubs/ft/weo/2011/01/weodata/index.aspx. Accessed 26 April 2011.
  30. Jenson J. (1998). Mapping social cohesion: The state of Canadian research. CPRN discussion paper No F 03, Canadian Policy Research Networks.Google Scholar
  31. Kahneman, D. (2000). Experienced utility and objective happiness: A moment-based approach. In D. Kahneman & A. Tversky (Eds.), Choices, values and frames. New York: Cambridge University Press and the Russell Sage Foundation.Google Scholar
  32. Lin, N., & Erickson, B. H. (2008). Social capital. An international research program. New York: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Nettle, D. (2005). Happiness: The science behind your smile. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  34. OECD. (2001). The well-being of nations. The role of human and social capital. Paris: Centre for Educational Research and Innovation.Google Scholar
  35. OECD. (2009). Society at a glance 2009—OECD social indicators. Paris: OECD Publishing.Google Scholar
  36. Osberg, L. (2003). Introduction. In L. Osberg (Ed.), The economic implications of social cohesion. Studies in comparative political economy and public policy. Toronto: Toronto University Press.Google Scholar
  37. Oxoby, R. (2009). Understanding social inclusion, social cohesion and social capital. International Journal of Social Economics, 36(12), 1133–1152.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Policy Research Committee Government of Canada (1999). Sustaining growth, human development, and social cohesion in a global world. Report prepared for the policy research initiative, Canada.Google Scholar
  39. Putnam, R. (2000). Bowling alone. The collapse and revival of American community. New York: Simon & Schuster.Google Scholar
  40. Rajulton, F., Ravanera, Z., & Beaujot, R. (2007). Measuring social cohesion: An experiment using the Canadian national survey of giving, volunteering, and participating. Social Indicators Research, 80, 461–492.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. United Nations Development Program. (2009). Human development report 2009. http://hdr.undp.org/en/statistics/data/mobility/. Accessed on 26 April 2011.

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CEPS/INSTEADEsch-sur-AlzetteLuxembourg

Personalised recommendations