The well-being of nations: Linking together trust, cooperation, and democracy


Tov, W., & Diener, E. (2008). The well-being of nations: Linking together trust, cooperation, and democracy. In B. A. Sullivan, M. Snyder & J. L. Sullivan (Eds.), Cooperation: The political psychology of effective human interaction (pp. 323-342). Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing.


The theme of this chapter is that cooperative and trusting social relationships tend to enhance people’s subjective well-being (happiness and life satisfaction), and that in turn positive feelings of well-being tend to augment cooperation and trust. Extensive empirical work now supports the fact that sociability, interpersonal warmth, community involvement, and interpersonal trust are heightened by positive emotions. New analyses based on the World Value Survey show that nations that are high on subjective well-being (SWB) also tend to be high on generalized trust, volunteerism, and democratic attitudes. Additional analyses indicate that the association of SWB to volunteerism and democratic attitudes is not fully accounted for by GDP per capita, freedom, or filial piety. The implications of SWB for promoting greater cooperation and trust within society and across nations is considered.

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