Happy Citizens are Good Citizens

By fostering happiness in our cities, towns and villages we are simultaneously cultivating inhabitants that will give more blood, donate more to charity, and generally be better citizens.

That’s the conclusion from a study looking at how happy people become better citizens as a result of being happy.

Happier people trust others more, and importantly, help create more social capital. Specifically, they have a higher desire to vote, perform more volunteer work, and more frequently participate in public activities [i.e. community activities, religious events, cultural events and social gatherings]. They also have a higher respect for law and order, hold more association memberships, are more attached to their neighborhood, and extend more help to others.

No doubt, there’s a positive feedback loop here (e.g. happiness increases participation in social gatherings, social gatherings vastly increase one’s happiness).

The researchers go to great lengths to show causality from happiness to social capital and trust but I’m still not completely won over. Check the paper and see what you think.

via Barking Up the Wrong Tree