An Empirical Investigation of the Relationship Between Social Capital and Subjective Well-Being in Ghana

Abstract

This paper uses data from the 2012 Afrobarometer Surveys to empirically investigate the relationship between social capital and subjective well-being (SWB) in Ghana. Two measures of SWB are examined—absolute SWB and relative SWB. Results from OLS and ordered logit regressions are mixed. For instance, while generalized trust has no significant effect on either measure of SWB, interpersonal trust and institutional trust are significantly correlated with both measures. The results also suggest that being satisfied with the way democracy works in Ghana has a positive effect on SWB. Even though membership in a voluntary association is negatively correlated with absolute SWB, it has a positive effect on relative SWB. Finally, members of a religious association tend to report lower relative SWB.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Increasingly, SWB, happiness, and life satisfaction are being used interchangeably in the literature, especially among economists (see for example Easterlin 2001, 2005b; Gerdtham and Johannesson 2001).

  2. 2.

    I thank an anonymous reviewer for pointing this out to me.

  3. 3.

    Between 2010 and 2012, there were numerous reported cases of public corruption, especially judgment debt cases that were heavily discussed in both electronic and print media. These could have affected public perceptions about corruption in the country.

  4. 4.

    Interpersonal trust is only significantly correlated with relative SWB at the 10 % level for the OLS regression. Following recommendations of an anonymous reviewer, significance at the 10 % level is not shown.

  5. 5.

    The variance inflation factors (VIFs) were checked in the OLS models, and multicollinearity was not detected.

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Acknowledgments

I wish to express my sincere gratitude to the Editor-in-Chief of this journal, Antonella delle Fave, co-editor for economics, Stephanie Rossouw, and two anonymous reviewers for useful comments, suggestions and constructive criticisms that helped strengthen the paper. I also want to thank Baffour Takyi for his comments and suggestions on an earlier version of the paper that helped improve it.

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Sulemana, I. An Empirical Investigation of the Relationship Between Social Capital and Subjective Well-Being in Ghana. J Happiness Stud 16, 1299–1321 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10902-014-9565-9

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Keywords

  • Social capital
  • Subjective well-being
  • Happiness
  • Trust
  • Ghana