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Happier together: Social cohesion and subjective well-being

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Presentation on theme: "Happier together: Social cohesion and subjective well-being"— Presentation transcript:

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

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 We are happier together!
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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