Social Interactions and Subjective Well-Being: Evidence from Latin America
In this paper, we seek to examine the effect of comparisons and social capital on subjective well-being. Furthermore, we test if, through social influence and exposure, social capital is either an enhancer or appeaser of the comparison effect. Using the Latinobarómetro Survey (2007) we find that in contrast to most previous studies, the comparison effect on well-being is positive; that is, the better others perform, the happier the individual is. We also find that social capital is among the strongest correlates of individuals’ subjective well-being in Latin American countries. Furthermore, our findings suggest that social contacts may enhance the comparison effect on individual’s happiness, which is more intense for those who perform worse in their reference group.