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The Science of Well-Being$
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Felicia A. Huppert, Nick Baylis, and Barry Keverne

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780198567523

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198567523.001.0001

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* The social context of well-being

* The social context of well-being

(p.434) (p.435) Chapter 17* The social context of well-being
The Science of Well-Being

John F. Helliwell

Robert D. Putnam

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines and presents the influence of social context on subjective well-being. Based on related research and literature, subjective well-being is affected by genetics, personality, physical health, and social factors. The chapter focuses on the latter, specifically on the direct effects of a person's social circumstances on one's subjective well-being. Social factors identified include relative wealth, marital status, race, education, employment, age, and social capital, which is a term applied to the powerful effect of social networks and human capital on the levels and efficiency of production and well-being. Prior to the discussion of the findings, a section is devoted to several methodological stumbling blocks encountered during the course of the study. The evidence gathered supports the claim that social capital is strongly correlated with subjective well-being through many channels and forms, such as marriage and family, ties to friends and neighbours, workplace ties, civic engagements, and trustworthiness.

Keywords:   subjective well-being, social capital, social network, human capital

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