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Social capital and subjective happiness in Taiwan

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Purpose ‐ The purpose of this paper is to test the theoretical predictions of the social capital investment model and examine the relationships between different forms of social capital and subjective happiness in Taiwan. Design/methodology/approach ‐ This paper uses the data from the Survey of Social Development Trends in Taiwan 2003 for empirical investigations with ordinary least squares and ordered probit estimations. Findings ‐ The findings are mostly consistent with the characteristics implied by the social capital investment model. Moreover, to some extent, the individual impacts of different measures of social capital ‐ including contributions to non-profit organizations, volunteering, social and community involvement, and trust ‐ on subjective happiness are identified. Practical implications ‐ The results from this paper provide valuable policy implications for researchers and policymakers who are concerned about the impacts of changes of social structures and political institutions on people's well-being during democratic developments. Originality/value ‐ Studies on the relationship between social capital and subjective happiness for the new democratic Asian societies have received much less attention. Since the late 1980s, Taiwan has experienced a political transition from an authoritarian to a democratic regime along with rapid economic development and further opening of society toward different individual beliefs, cultures, and global views. During this process, there have been various changes in the socio-cultural context of society that is critical for the formation of social capital. This paper is considered as one of very few studies on the linkage between social capital and subjective happiness for a new democratic society.
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Keywords: Democracy; Individual behaviour; Social capital; Taiwan

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 03 July 2009

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