This paper attempts to explain international trends and differences in subjective well-being over the final fifth of the twentieth century. This is done in several stages. First there is a brief review of some reasons for giving a central role to subjective measures of well-being. This is followed by sections containing a survey of earlier empirical studies, a deion of the main variables used in this study, a report of results and tests, discussion of the links among social capital, education and well-being, and concluding comments. The main innovation of the paper, relative to earlier studies of subjective well-being, lies in its use of large international samples of individual respondents, thus permitting the simultaneous identification of individual-level and societal-level determinants of well-being. This is particularly useful in identifying direct and indirect linkages between social capital and well-being.
Helliwell, J. F. (2003). How’s life? Combining individual and national variables to explain subjective well-being. Economic modelling, 20(2), 331-360.