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The Scots May Be Brave But They Are Neither Healthy Nor Happy

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  • David Bell
  • David G. Blanchflower

Abstract

On almost all measures of physical health, Scots fare worse than residents of any other region of the UK and often worse than the rest of Europe. Deaths from chronic liver disease and lung cancer are particularly prevalent in Scotland. The self‐assessed well‐being of Scots is lower than that of the English or Welsh, even after taking into account any differences in characteristics. Scots also suffer from higher levels of self‐assessed depression or phobia, accidental death and suicide than those in other parts of Great Britain. This result is particularly driven by outcomes in Strathclyde and is consistent with the high scores for other measures of social deprivation in this area. On average, indicators of social capital in Scotland are no worse than in England or Wales. Detailed analysis within Scotland, however, shows that social capital indicators for the Strathclyde area are relatively low. We argue that these problems need to be directly targeted as they seem unlikely to be fixed by more indirect policies aimed at raising economic growth.

Suggested Citation

  • David Bell & David G. Blanchflower, 2007. "The Scots May Be Brave But They Are Neither Healthy Nor Happy," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 54(2), pages 166-194, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:scotjp:v:54:y:2007:i:2:p:166-194
    DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9485.2007.00410.x
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    1. David G. Blanchflower & Andrew J. Oswald, 2006. "On Leigh-Wolfers and Well-Being in Australia," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 39(2), pages 185-186, June.
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    6. Jonathan Gardner & Andrew J. Oswald, 2006. "Do divorcing couples become happier by breaking up?," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 169(2), pages 319-336, March.
    7. David M. Cutler & Edward L. Glaeser & Karen E. Norberg, 2001. "Explaining the Rise in Youth Suicide," NBER Chapters, in: Risky Behavior among Youths: An Economic Analysis, pages 219-270, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Helliwell, John F., 2003. "How's life? Combining individual and national variables to explain subjective well-being," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 331-360, March.
    9. David G. Blanchflower & Andrew J. Oswald, 2005. "Happiness and the Human Development Index: The Paradox of Australia," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 38(3), pages 307-318, September.
    10. Blanchflower, David G., 2001. "Unemployment, Well-Being, and Wage Curves in Eastern and Central Europe," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 15(4), pages 364-402, December.
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    Cited by:

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    2. Blanchflower, David G. & Oswald, Andrew J., 2008. "Is well-being U-shaped over the life cycle?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 66(8), pages 1733-1749, April.
    3. Knies, Gundi & Nandi, Alita & Platt, Lucinda, 2014. "Life satisfaction, ethnicity and neighbourhoods: is there an effect of neighbourhood ethnic composition on life satisfaction?," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 55669, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    4. Blanchflower, David G; Oswald, Andrew, 2011. "International Happiness," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 39, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    5. Frijters, Paul & Beatton, Tony, 2012. "The mystery of the U-shaped relationship between happiness and age," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 525-542.
    6. Finbarr Brereton & J. Peter Clinch & Susana Ferreira, 2008. "Employment and Life-Satisfaction: Insights from Ireland," The Economic and Social Review, Economic and Social Studies, vol. 39(3), pages 207-234.
    7. David G. Blanchflower & Carol L. Graham, 2022. "The Mid-Life Dip in Well-Being: a Critique," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 161(1), pages 287-344, May.
    8. van der Pol, Marjon & Walsh, David & McCartney, Gerry, 2015. "Comparing time and risk preferences across three post-industrial UK cities," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 140(C), pages 54-61.
    9. Paraskevi Katsiampa & Kyriaki Begiazi, 2019. "An empirical analysis of the Scottish housing market by property type," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 66(4), pages 559-583, September.
    10. Blanchflower, David G., 2006. "A Cross-Country Study of Union Membership," IZA Discussion Papers 2016, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    11. David N. F. Bell & David G. Blanchflower, 2021. "The U‐shape of happiness in Scotland," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 68(4), pages 407-433, September.
    12. Moro, Mirko & Brereton, Finbarr & Ferreira, Susana & Clinch, J. Peter, 2008. "Ranking quality of life using subjective well-being data," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(3), pages 448-460, April.
    13. Ehsan Latif, 2016. "Happiness and Comparison Income: Evidence from Canada," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 128(1), pages 161-177, August.
    14. Jeffrey DeSimone, 2018. "Suicide And The Social Security Early Retirement Age," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 36(3), pages 435-450, July.
    15. Bobinac, Ana & van Exel, N. Job A. & Rutten, Frans F.H. & Brouwer, Werner B.F., 2010. "Caring for and caring about: Disentangling the caregiver effect and the family effect," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 549-556, July.
    16. Caleiro, António, 2011. "Desemprego e felicidade em Portugal [Unemployment and happiness in Portugal]," MPRA Paper 34997, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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    JEL classification:

    • J4 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets

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