Estimating worldwide life satisfaction
AbstractWhilst studies of life satisfaction are becoming more common-place, their global coverage is far from complete. This paper develops a new database of life satisfaction scores for 178 countries, bringing together subjective well-being data from four surveys and using stepwise regression to estimate scores for nations where no subjective data are available. In doing so, we explore various factors that predict between-nation variation in subjective life satisfaction, building on Vemuri and Costanza's (Vemuri, A.W., & Costanza, R., 2006. The role of human, social, built, and natural capital in explaining life satisfaction at the country level: toward a National Well-Being Index (NWI). Ecological Economics, 58:119-133.) four capitals model. The main regression model explains 76% of variation in existing subjective scores; importantly, this includes poorer nations that had proven problematic in Vemuri and Costanza's (Vemuri, A.W., & Costanza, R., 2006. The role of human, social, built, and natural capital in explaining life satisfaction at the country level: toward a National Well-Being Index (NWI). Ecological Economics, 58:119-133.) study. Natural, human and socio-political capitals are all found to be strong predictors of life satisfaction. Built capital, operationalised as GDP, did not enter our regression model, being overshadowed by the human capital and socio-political capital factors that it inter-correlates with. The final database presents a stop-gap resource that, until robust surveys are carried out worldwide, allows comparisons of subjective life satisfaction between nations to be made with reasonable confidence.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by Elsevier in its journal Ecological Economics.
Volume (Year): 65 (2008)
Issue (Month): 1 (March)
Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/ecolecon
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Ed Diener & Christie Napa-Scollon & Shigehiro Oishi & Vivian Dzokoto & Eunkook Suh, 2000. "Positivity and the Construction of Life Satisfaction Judgments: Global Happiness is not the Sum of its Parts," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 1(2), pages 159-176, June.
- Geeta Gandhi Kingdon & John Knight, 2006. "Subjective well-being poverty vs. Income poverty and capabilities poverty?," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 42(7), pages 1199-1224.
- Peggy Schyns, 2002. "Wealth Of Nations, Individual Income andLife Satisfaction in 42 Countries:A Multilevel Approach," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 60(1), pages 5-40, December.
- Michael Hagerty, 1999. "Testing Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs: National Quality-of-Life Across Time," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 46(3), pages 249-271, March.
- Ed Diener & Eunkook Suh & Heidi Smith & Liang Shao, 1995. "National differences in reported subjective well-being: Why do they occur?," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 34(1), pages 7-32, January.
- Ruut Veenhoven, 2001. "Are the Russians as Unhappy as they say they are?," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 2(2), pages 111-136, June.
- Katrin Rehdanz & David J. Maddison, 2003.
"Climate and Happiness,"
FNU-20, Research unit Sustainability and Global Change, Hamburg University, revised Apr 2003.
- Vemuri, Amanda W. & Costanza, Robert, 2006. "The role of human, social, built, and natural capital in explaining life satisfaction at the country level: Toward a National Well-Being Index (NWI)," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(1), pages 119-133, June.
- Ruut Veenhoven, 1991. "Is happiness relative?," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 24(1), pages 1-34, February.
- Sutton, Paul C. & Costanza, Robert, 2002. "Global estimates of market and non-market values derived from nighttime satellite imagery, land cover, and ecosystem service valuation," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(3), pages 509-527, June.
- Manfred Lenzen & Robert A. Cummins, 2013. "Happiness versus the Environment—A Case Study of Australian Lifestyles," Challenges, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 4(1), pages 56-74, May.
- Alexandra Nonnenmacher & Jürgen Friedrichs, 2013. "The Missing Link: Deficits of Country-Level Studies. A Review of 22 Articles Explaining Life Satisfaction," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 110(3), pages 1221-1244, February.
- Pennekamp, Johannes, 2011. "Wohlstand ohne Wachstum: Ein Literaturüberblick," MPIfG Working Paper 11/1, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies.
- Engelbrecht, Hans-Jürgen, 2009. "Natural capital, subjective well-being, and the new welfare economics of sustainability: Some evidence from cross-country regressions," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(2), pages 380-388, December.
- Edson Tandoc & Bruno Takahashi, 2013. "The Complex Road to Happiness: The Influence of Human Development, a Healthy Environment and a Free Press," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 113(1), pages 537-550, August.
- Arthur Grimes & les Oxley & Nicholas Tarrant, 2012. "Does Money Buy Me Love? Testing Alternative Measures of National Wellbeing," Working Papers 12_09, Motu Economic and Public Policy Research.
- Shepherd, Dean A. & Kuskova, Valya & Patzelt, Holger, 2009. "Measuring the values that underlie sustainable development: The development of a valid scale," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 246-256, April.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Zhang, Lei).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.