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Happier together: Social cohesion and subjective well-being Jan Delhey Jacobs University Bremen Bertelsmann Cohesion Radar project www.social-cohesion.net.

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Presentation on theme: "Happier together: Social cohesion and subjective well-being Jan Delhey Jacobs University Bremen Bertelsmann Cohesion Radar project www.social-cohesion.net."— Presentation transcript:

1 Happier together: Social cohesion and subjective well-being Jan Delhey Jacobs University Bremen Bertelsmann Cohesion Radar project www.social-cohesion.net

2 GLADS Good Lives and Decent Societies individual well-being societal well-being (“quality of life”)(“quality of society”) e.g. social cohesion

3 Concerns about cohesion:  cohesion refers to a specific aspect of a society’s collective quality of life : the solidarity exhibited by the people of that society. In other words, cohesion describes the sense of community and the degree of brotherhood that exist.  Collective property, not an individual.  Social cohesion is believed to be challenged: growing ethno-cultural diversity; a widening gap between rich and poor; technological changes; welfare state retrenchments; Euro-crisis....  A gap in the social reporting landscape (Legatum Prosperity Index  8 dimensions, social capital; Index of Social Progress  10 dimensions, social chaos)

4 Scope of the study  34 countries  over 20 years (collapsed into four time periods)

5 Our concept of social cohesion Overlap with other studies, e.g. Chan (2006)

6 Data sources: Survey data, expert ratings and process data

7 The international cohesion ranking

8 …in more detail

9 Cohesion: quite stable over time

10 Cohesion strong in rich societies

11 Determinants of social cohesion  National income (GDP p.c.)  Knowledge economy  Income inequality  (Unemployment rate)  Importance of religion  Postmaterialist value climate What’s not influencing cohesion: Ethnic fractionalization; migration (excpetion: migration from Eastern European) Masculine/feminine culture (Hofstede)

12 The effect on SWB Normative perspective vs. happiness perspective  The more – the better ? Or mixed blessing (cf. dark sides of social cohesion)  Equally important for rich and poor societies ?  Equally important for more/less vulnerable groups ?

13 LifeSat higher in cohesive societies

14 Which components of SWB are enhanced by cohesion? EU countries only; EQLS

15 Cohesion more important in rich countries EU countries only; EQLS

16 Cohesion is good for all: less vs. more vulnerable groups EU countries only; EQLS

17 In summary  Social cohesion is focusing on one important aspect of a “decent society”.  Social cohesion mainly depends on economic conditions, equality, and the value climate.  Citizens have higher SWB in more cohesive societies (Western Europe in particular).  Cohesion is good for all.  More important than GDP (GDP works through cohesion). We are happier together!


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