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Cooperatives and happiness. Cross-country evidence on the role of relational capital

Luigino Bruni (), Dalila De Rosa and Giovanni Ferri

Applied Economics, 2019, vol. 51, issue 30, 3325-3343

Abstract: Why is the share of happy people higher in some countries than in their equally developed neighbours? We conjecture that the apparent contradiction might depend on a country’s endowment of relational capital, which we proxy empirically with the extent of cooperativeness. In particular, within the black box of social capital, we consider relational capital as the outcome of the civil economy paradigm and use cooperativeness as the macro and objective proxy of long term face-to-face interaction. Compiling an index of the importance of the cooperative sector, we test whether more cooperativeness associates with more happiness controlling for countries’ HDI and other control variables. Checking for endogeneity, using various country samples, and through different regression methods we find support for our hypothesis. This suggests that, indeed, an institutionalized cooperative culture can promote happiness.

Date: 2019
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DOI: 10.1080/00036846.2019.1575944

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