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Economic convergence and life satisfaction in the European Union

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  • Welsch, Heinz
  • Bonn, Udo

Abstract

The issue of convergence or divergence in the European Union (EU) is usually viewed from a macroeconomic perspective, using indicators such as the income per head, the unemployment rate and the inflation rate. Little attention has been paid to the possibility of an associated convergence in 'well-being' across countries. Since recent literature has shown that subjective well-being (life satisfaction, 'happiness') is significantly affected by macroeconomic variables, it is natural to ask not only whether or not subjective well-being converges, but also, whether, how and to what extent this process is linked to macroeconomic convergence. In this paper we use self-rated life satisfaction elicited in large scale surveys to address these questions. We find evidence of convergence of life satisfaction across the member states of the EU, which can be attributed to a considerable extent to the convergence in macroeconomic conditions. Among the various macroeconomic indicators, the convergence in inflation rates has played a major role for the convergence in life satisfaction.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics).

Volume (Year): 37 (2008)
Issue (Month): 3 (June)
Pages: 1153-1167

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Handle: RePEc:eee:soceco:v:37:y:2008:i:3:p:1153-1167

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/620175

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References

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  1. Simón Sosvilla-Rivero & Salvador Gil-Pareja, . "Price Convergence in the European Union," Working Papers 2002-12, FEDEA.
  2. Ravallion, Martin & Lokshin, Michael, 2000. "Identifying welfare effects from subjective questions," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2301, The World Bank.
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  8. Hein, Eckhard & Truger, Achim, 2005. "European Monetary Union: nominal convergence, real divergence and slow growth?," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 7-33, March.
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  12. Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell & Paul Frijters, 2004. "How Important is Methodology for the estimates of the determinants of Happiness?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(497), pages 641-659, 07.
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  17. Giles, David E.A. & Feng, Hui, 2005. "Output and well-being in industrialized nations in the second half of the 20th century: testing for convergence using fuzzy clustering analysis," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 285-308, June.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Peter Meer, 2014. "Gender, Unemployment and Subjective Well-Being: Why Being Unemployed Is Worse for Men than for Women," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 115(1), pages 23-44, January.
  2. Eileen Trzcinski & Elke Holst, 2010. "Interrelationships among Locus of Control and Years in Management and Unemployment: Differences by Gender," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 266, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  3. Genovaitė Liobikienė & Justina Mandravickaitė, 2013. "Convergence of new members of the EU: changes in household consumption expenditure structure regarding environmental impact during the prosperous period," Environment, Development and Sustainability, Springer, vol. 15(2), pages 407-427, April.

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