Understanding subjective wellbeing, prosocial activities and the Sumak-Kawsay "The good way of living": an Ecuadorian case study

  • William Alejandro Pacheco Jaramillo

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


While a fundamental principle of economics is that economic agents act primarily according to their self-interest, there is significant evidence that prosocial activities (e.g., volunteering and community involvement), which do not promote self-interest, can increase the subjective wellbeing of people who act prosocially. This study explores this idea in the context of the Ecuadorian Republic. This research contributes to understanding how a complex socio-political process can encourage prosocial behaviour. The process examined in this research started with a constitutional change based on the philosophy of Sumak-Kawsay “The good way of living”, and the project aimed to evaluate how this process had an impact on the everyday lives of Ecuadorians after the implementation of the constitution. The project uses data from the Ecuadorian national surveys’ for two time periods: 2007 (before the 2008 policy) and 2014 (after the 2008 policy was implemented) to examine whether prosocial behaviour (proxied by prosocial activities) improves wellbeing and to assess the role of the 2008 Ecuadorian Constitution in mediating the association between these two factors. In part, the results revealed that Ecuadorians reported increased life
satisfaction after the 2008 policy and that prosocial activities increased life satisfaction in the Eastern region, where mingas (participation in community work) is mostly practised.
Date of Award2023
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorRiyana Miranti (Supervisor) & Robert Tanton (Supervisor)

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