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Correlational findings

Study Rode (2013): study ZZ World samples 1995

Public:
18+ years, general public, 87 countries, 1995-2005
Survey name:
WorldValuesSurvey 1994-2008
Sample:
Respondents:
N = 180000
Non Response:
Assessment:
Interview: face-to-face

Correlate

Authors's label
Social trust
Our Classification
Operationalization
Percentage of people in a country who think that most people can be trusted.
1: Most people can be trusted
0: Can't be too careful

Observed Relation with Happiness

Happiness Measure Statistics Elaboration / Remarks O-SLW-c-sq-n-10-a b = +1.6 p < .01 AVERAGE happiness by AVERAGE social trust
In 87 nations

b controls for:
-average memberships
-importance of God
-log GDP per capita (PPP)
-unemployment rate
-divorce rate
O-SLW-c-sq-n-10-a b = +1.5 p < .01 b additionally controls for:
-economic freedom
-democracy
O-SLW-c-sq-n-10-a b = +1.8 p < .01 b additionally controls for:
-regional dummies
-period dummies
O-SLW-c-sq-n-10-a b = +1.9 p < .01 b controls for:
-size of government INSTEAD of economic freedom
O-SLW-c-sq-n-10-a b = +1.8 p < .01 b controls for:
-legal system and property rights INSTEAD of economic freedom
O-SLW-c-sq-n-10-a b = +1.7 p < .01 b controls for:
-sound money INSTEAD of economic freedom
O-SLW-c-sq-n-10-a b = +1.9 p < .01 b controls for:
-freedom to trade INSTEAD of economic freedom
O-SLW-c-sq-n-10-a b = +1.8 p < .01 b controls for:
-regulation INSTEAD of economic freedom
O-SLW-c-sq-n-10-a b = +2.1 p < .01 In 61 poor countries (GDP per capita less than $20,000)


Similar coefficients are obtained when size of government, legal system and property rights, sound money, freedom to trade and regulation are controlled for INSTEAD of economic freedom.
O-SLW-c-sq-n-10-a b = +1.1 p < .05 In 43 rich countries (GDP per capita more than $10,000)

Similar coefficients are obtained when size of government, sound money, freedom to trade and regulation are controlled for INSTEAD of economic freedom. When legal system and property rights are controlled for instead of economic freedom, social trust is not significant.

b controls for:
-average memberships
-importance of God
-log GDP per capita (PPP)
-unemployment rate
-divorce rate
-democracy
-economic freedom
-regional dummies
-period dummies

Similar results are obtained when economic freedom is instrumented by:
- air distance to New York, Rotterdam, and Tokyo
- the fraction of the population that speaks English as a mother tongue

In sum: Social trust is positively associated with average life satisfaction in nations.