Social Indicators Research

, Volume 114, Issue 2, pp 493–511 | Cite as

Social Capital and Subjective Wellbeing in Europe: A New Approach on Social Capital

  • Marta Portela
  • Isabel Neira
  • Maria del Mar Salinas-JiménezEmail author


This paper aims to analyze the relationship between the various dimensions of social capital and subjective wellbeing. Data used in this study come from the fourth wave of the European Social Survey and different measures of wellbeing are used to take account of both the cognitive and affective processes of individual wellbeing (i.e. life satisfaction, happiness, and subjective wellbeing). A factor analysis is performed to summarize information coming from a large set of variables into different components corresponding to each dimension of social capital (i.e. networks, norms, and trust). Among the results, we find that the impact of social capital on subjective wellbeing differ depending on the component of social capital which is under analysis. In particular, social networks, social trust and institutional trust are the components that show a higher correlation with subjective wellbeing. Furthermore, in addition to the positive effects of the individual variables, our results suggest that social capital at the aggregate level positively correlates with individual wellbeing, thus pointing to an external or environmental effect of social capital.


Social capital Wellbeing Networks Norms Trust Factor analysis 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marta Portela
    • 1
  • Isabel Neira
    • 1
  • Maria del Mar Salinas-Jiménez
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Quantitative Economics, Facultad de Económicas y EmpresarialesUniversidad de Santiago de CompostelaSantiago de CompostelaSpain
  2. 2.Departamento de EconomíaUniversidad de ExtremaduraBadajozSpain

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