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Social Capital and Prosocial Behaviour as Sources of Well-Being

John Helliwell, Lara B. Aknin, Hugh Shiplett, Haifang Huang () and Shun Wang

No 23761, NBER Working Papers from National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc

Abstract: This paper surveys evidence documenting positive linkages among social capital, prosocial behaviour, and subjective well-being. Whether in the workplace, at home, in the community, or among nations, better and deeper social connections, and especially higher levels of trust are linked to higher subjective well-being, even beyond the effects flowing through higher incomes and better health. Prosocial behaviour is also shown to be a robust predictor of well-being in both correlational and experimental contexts. These two lines of research are connected, as prosocial acts are most likely to increase well-being when they are delivered in ways that improve social capital, and reflect intentional generosity free of either compulsion or personal gain. We infer that these deep links between prosocial acts and well-being have an evolutionary benefit in maintaining the quality of social capital and thereby delivering cooperative human responses in times of crisis.

JEL-codes: I31 O57 P16 Z13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-evo, nep-hap, nep-ltv and nep-soc
Date: 2017-08
Note: HC PE POL
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