In the long run economic growth does not improve people's well-being. Traditional theories – adaptation and social comparisons – explain this evidence, but they don't explain what shapes the trend of subjective well-being and its differences across countries. Recent research identified in social capital a plausible candidate to explain the trends of well-being. This dissertation adopts various econometric techniques to explore the relationship over time among social capital, economic growth and subjective well-being. The main conclusion is that social capital is a good predictor of the trend of subjective well-being, both within and across countries. Hence, policies for well-being should aim at preserving and enhancing social capital for the quality of the social environment matters.
STATEC, National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, Luxembourg