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How's Life? Combining Individual and National Variables to Explain Subjective Well-Being

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  • John F. Helliwell

Abstract

This paper attempts to explain international and inter-personal differences in subjective well-being over the final fifth of the twentieth century. The empirical work makes use of data from three waves of the World Values survey covering about fifty different countries. The analysis proceeds in stages. First there is a brief review of some reasons for giving a key role to subjective measures of well-being. This is followed by a survey of earlier empirical studies, a description of the main variables used, a report of results and tests, and discussion of the links among social capital, education, income and well-being. The main innovation of the paper, relative to earlier studies of subjective well-being, lies in its use of large international samples of data combining individual and societal level variables, thus permitting the simultaneous identification of individual-level and societal-level determinants of well-being. This is particularly useful in identifying the direct and indirect linkages between social capital and well-being.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 9065.

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Date of creation: Jul 2002
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9065

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  1. John F. Helliwell, 1996. "Do Borders Matter for Social Capital? Economic Growth and Civic Culture in U.S. States and Canadian Provinces," NBER Working Papers 5863, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Knack, Stephen & Keefer, Philip, 1997. "Does Social Capital Have an Economic Payoff? A Cross-Country Investigation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1251-88, November.
  3. Blanchflower, David G. & Oswald, Andrew J., 2004. "Well-being over time in Britain and the USA," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(7-8), pages 1359-1386, July.
  4. Oswald, A.J., 1997. "Happiness and Economic Performance," Papers 18, Centre for Economic Performance & Institute of Economics.
  5. John Helliwell, 2001. "Social Capital, the Economy and Well-being," The Review of Economic Performance and Social Progress, in: Andrew Sharpe, Executive Director & France St-Hilaire, Vice-President , Research & Keith Banting, Di (ed.), The Review of Economic Performance and Social Progress 2001: The Longest Decade: Canada in the 1990s, volume 1 Centre for the Study of Living Standards & The Institutute for Research on Public Policy.
  6. de la Fuente, Angel & Doménech, Rafael, 2000. "Human Capital In Growth Regressions: How Much Difference Does Data Quality Make?," CEPR Discussion Papers 2466, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Wolfgang Keller, 2000. "Geographic Localization of International Technology Diffusion," NBER Working Papers 7509, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Alex Michalos & Bruno Zumbo & Anita Hubley, 2000. "Health and the Quality of Life," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 51(3), pages 245-286, September.
  9. Knack, Stephen, 2001. "Trust, assocational life, and economic performance," MPRA Paper 27247, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  10. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2000. "Happiness, Economy and Institutions," CESifo Working Paper Series 246, CESifo Group Munich.
  11. Moulton, Brent R, 1990. "An Illustration of a Pitfall in Estimating the Effects of Aggregate Variables on Micro Unit," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 72(2), pages 334-38, May.
  12. McCallum, John, 1995. "National Borders Matter: Canada-U.S. Regional Trade Patterns," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(3), pages 615-23, June.
  13. Easterlin, Richard A., 1995. "Will raising the incomes of all increase the happiness of all?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 35-47, June.
  14. Kaufmann, Daniel & Kraay, Aart & Zoido-Lobaton, Pablo, 1999. "Governance matters," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2196, The World Bank.
  15. Kaufmann, Daniel & Kraay, Aart & Zoido-Lobaton, Pablo, 1999. "Aggregating governance indicators," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2195, The World Bank.
  16. Mauro, Paolo, 1995. "Corruption and Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(3), pages 681-712, August.
  17. John F. Helliwell, 1996. "Economic Growth and Social Capital in Asia," NBER Working Papers 5470, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  1. Je le plains
    by Alexandre Delaigue in Econoclaste on 2007-10-18 18:39:18
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