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Social Preferences and Well-Being: Theory and Evidence

Masaki Iwasaki

MPRA Paper from University Library of Munich, Germany

Abstract: The education systems of many countries emphasize the development of prosocial preferences. Clarifying how these preferences are related to well-being is therefore essential. Although many studies have shown that particular prosocial behaviors increase subjective well-being, it is unclear whether prosocial preferences rather than prosocial behaviors are associated with greater well-being. This study presents a model in which differences in social preferences explain differences in subjective well-being. Then, using survey data from the United States, it finds an association between social preferences and well-being. We measured social preferences using the Slider Measure of social value orientation to evaluate prosociality as a continuous variable. Using the Pemberton Happiness Index, we also measured subjective well-being in terms of the multiple dimensions of general well-being, hedonic well-being, eudaimonic well-being, social well-being, and experienced well-being. Regression analysis revealed that the effect sizes of social value orientation on hedonic well-being and eudaimonic well-being were 0.19 and 0.15, respectively, which are comparable to the effect sizes of parenthood, income, and education.

Keywords: Social preferences; Well-being; Social value orientation; Prosociality; Happiness (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: A13 D64 I31 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022-03-03
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-hap
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