The Happy Culture: A Theoretical, Meta-Analytic, and Empirical Review of the Relationship Between Culture and Wealth and Subjective Well-Being

by alexherwix 2mo16th Jul 20193 comments

3


I have come across another highly interesting research article that seems relevant to the EA community. This one is a comprehensive meta study of the influence of culture on subjective well-being (SWB) on an individual as well as national level. What I find interesting about this article is that it is not only empirically grounded but also suggests possible focus areas for improving SWB through culture-aware interventions. Thus, it seems directly relevant to any EAs interested in increasing SWB on a global scale.

Steel, P., Taras, V., Uggerslev, K., & Bosco, F. (2018). The Happy Culture: A Theoretical, Meta-Analytic, and Empirical Review of the Relationship Between Culture and Wealth and Subjective Well-Being. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 22(2), 128–169. https://doi.org/10.1177/1088868317721372

Abstract. Do cultural values enhance financial and subjective well-being (SWB)? Taking a multidisciplinary approach, we meta-analytically reviewed the field, found it thinly covered, and focused on individualism. In counter, we collected a broad array of individual-level data, specifically an Internet sample of 8,438 adult respondents. Individual SWB was most strongly associated with cultural values that foster relationships and social capital, which typically accounted for more unique variance in life satisfaction than an individual’s salary. At a national level, we used mean-based meta-analysis to construct a comprehensive cultural and SWB database. Results show some reversals from the individual level, particularly masculinity’s facet of achievement orientation. In all, the happy nation has low power distance and low uncertainty avoidance, but is high in femininity and individualism, and these effects are interrelated but still partially independent from political and economic institutions. In short, culture matters for individual and national well-being.