Handbook of Research Methods and Applications in Social Capital
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Handbook of Research Methods and Applications in Social Capital

Edited by Yaojun Li

Social capital is fundamentally concerned with resources in social relations. This Handbook brings together leading scholars from around the world to address important questions on the determinants, manifestations and consequences of social capital. Combining cutting-edge theory and appropriate data and methods, it presents a challenge to both social capital researchers interested in explaining social inequality and to policy-makers with responsibility for designing effective measures for enhancing social cohesion.
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Chapter 13: Social capital and life satisfaction in Australia

Xianbi Huang and Mark Western


Objective and subjective well-being are increasingly recognized as two key goals of societal development and yardsticks to measure quality of life (Trewin, 2001; Noll, 2004). Life satisfaction, as the key indicator of subjective well-being, has become a research focus that attracts interdisciplinary attention in the social sciences (Diener et al., 2009). Scholars have gradually reached a consensus about some of the factors that contribute to life satisfaction but the effect of social capital has not been extensively considered (Leung et al., 2011). Recent research has started to examine the relationship between social capital and life satisfaction but results are mixed, depending on social contexts and the indicators used for measuring social capital (Bjornskov, 2003, 2006; Elgar et al., 2011; Ram, 2010; Leung et al., 2011; Pugno and Verme, 2012). Among existing studies, two areas of discrepancy have contributed to confusion about how social capital is related to life satisfaction. First, the definition of social capital remains elusive as there are multiple facets of the complex concept (Bjornskov, 2006). Among other things, social capital has been defined in terms of social norms associated with social ties, generalized trust in others, social organization that leads to beneficial outcomes, connections among individuals, and the resources available to individuals through their connections with others (Durlauf and Fafchamps, 2005).

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