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Accounting for Unobserved Country Heterogeneity in Happiness Research: Country Fixed Effects versus Region Fixed Effects

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  • Fischer, Justina AV

Abstract

Many empirical studies are ambiguous about whether good formal institutions are conducive to subjective well-being or not. Possibly, this ambiguity is caused by cross-section models that do not account for unobserved cultural and institutional effects. Using the World Value Survey 1980-2005, this paper supports a positive relation in a country panel framework that accounts for unobserved, time-invariant country heterogeneity. This study also shows that using supra-national region dummies (by geography or language) in a country-random effects model appears to be a sufficient substitution for omitted country fixed effects.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 22272.

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Date of creation: 20 Apr 2010
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:22272

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Keywords: Happiness; life satisfaction; subjective well-being; quality of life; institutions; democracy; rule of law; political constraints; policy implications; panel econometrics;

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References

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  1. Alberto Alesina & Rafael Di Tella & Robert MacCulloch, 2001. "Inequality and Happiness: Are Europeans and Americans Different?," NBER Working Papers 8198, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. John F. Helliwell, 2006. "Well-Being, Social Capital and Public Policy: What's New?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 116(510), pages C34-C45, 03.
  3. Dolan, Paul & Peasgood, Tessa & White, Mathew, 2008. "Do we really know what makes us happy A review of the economic literature on the factors associated with subjective well-being," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 94-122, February.
  4. Andrew E. Clark & Ed Diener & Yannis Georgellis & Richard E. Lucas, 2003. "Lags and Leads in Life Satisfaction: A Test of the Baseline Hypothesis," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 371, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  5. Bjornskov, Christian & Fischer, Justina AV & Dreher, Axel, 2008. "Formal Institutions and Subjective Well-Being: Revisiting the Cross-Country Evidence," MPRA Paper 17159, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Jul 2009.
  6. 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.
  7. Fischer, Justina AV, 2009. "Subjective Well-Being as Welfare Measure: Concepts and Methodology," MPRA Paper 16619, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  8. David M. Drukker, 2003. "Testing for serial correlation in linear panel-data models," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 3(2), pages 168-177, June.
  9. David G. Blanchflower, 2009. "International Evidence on Well-Being," NBER Chapters, in: Measuring the Subjective Well-Being of Nations: National Accounts of Time Use and Well-Being, pages 155-226 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Christian Bjørnskov & Axel Dreher & Justina Fischer, 2008. "Cross-country determinants of life satisfaction: exploring different determinants across groups in society," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 30(1), pages 119-173, January.
  11. Christopher F Baum & Mark E. Schaffer & Steven Stillman, 2003. "Instrumental variables and GMM: Estimation and testing," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 3(1), pages 1-31, March.
  12. Witold J. Henisz, 2002. "The institutional environment for infrastructure investment," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 11(2), pages 355-389.
  13. John F. Helliwell & Haifang Huang, 2006. "How's Your Government? International Evidence Linking Good Government and Well-Being," NBER Working Papers 11988, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Ovaska, Tomi & Takashima, Ryo, 2006. "Economic policy and the level of self-perceived well-being: An international comparison," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 308-325, April.
  15. Jan Ott, 2010. "Good Governance and Happiness in Nations: Technical Quality Precedes Democracy and Quality Beats Size," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 11(3), pages 353-368, June.
  16. David Dorn & Justina Fischer & Gebhard Kirchgässner & Alfonso Sousa-Poza, 2008. "Direct democracy and life satisfaction revisited: new evidence for Switzerland," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 9(2), pages 227-255, June.
  17. Frijters, Paul & Johnston, David W. & Shields, Michael A., 2008. "Happiness Dynamics with Quarterly Life Event Data," IZA Discussion Papers 3604, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  18. Bjørnskov, Christian & Drehe, Axel & Fischer, Justina A.V., 2008. "On decentralization and life satisfaction," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 99(1), pages 147-151, April.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Gehring, Kai, 2012. "Benefit or burden? Unraveling the effect of economic freedom on subjective well-being," Working Papers 0531, University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics.
  2. repec:old:wpaper:342 is not listed on IDEAS
  3. Gehring, Kai, 2013. "Who Benefits from Economic Freedom? Unraveling the Effect of Economic Freedom on Subjective Well-Being," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 74-90.
  4. Fischer, Justina, 2011. "Immigration, integration and terrorism: is there a clash of cultures?," Annual Conference 2011 (Frankfurt, Main): The Order of the World Economy - Lessons from the Crisis 48704, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  5. repec:old:wpaper:343 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. Heinz Welsch & Jan Kühling, 2011. "Comparative Economic Performance and Institutional Change in OECD Countries: Evidence from Subjective Well-Being Data," Working Papers V-342-11, University of Oldenburg, Department of Economics, revised Dec 2011.
  7. Heinz Welsch & Jan Kühling, 2011. "Anti-Inflation Policy Benefits the Poor: Evidence from Subjective Well-Being Data," Working Papers V-343-11, University of Oldenburg, Department of Economics, revised Dec 2011.

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