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

  • David Bell
  • David G. Blanchflower

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 wellbeing 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.

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Article provided by Scottish Economic Society in its journal Scottish Journal of Political Economy.

Volume (Year): 54 (2007)
Issue (Month): 2 (05)
Pages: 166-194

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Handle: RePEc:bla:scotjp:v:54:y:2007:i:2:p:166-194
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  1. Luttmer, Erzo F. P., 2004. "Neighbors as Negatives: Relative Earnings and Well-Being," Working Paper Series rwp04-029, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  2. David M. Cutler & Edward L. Glaeser & Karen E. Norberg, 2001. "Explaining the Rise in Youth Suicide," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1917, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  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. 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.
  5. 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, 09.
  6. 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.
  7. David G. Blanchflower, 2004. "Self-Employment: More may not be better," NBER Working Papers 10286, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. John F. Helliwell, 2002. "How's Life? Combining Individual and National Variables to Explain Subjective Well-Being," NBER Working Papers 9065, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. 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, 06.
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