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An Empirical Study of Happiness in Italy

Author

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  • Scoppa Vincenzo

    () (Università della Calabria)

  • Ponzo Michela

    () (Università della Calabria)

Abstract

This study analyzes the determinants of individual subjective well-being (happiness) in Italy by estimating microeconometric happiness equations in order to examine the effects of socio-demographic characteristics and economic conditions on subjective evaluations of happiness. Consistent with the findings in other advanced countries we find that income and wealth increase happiness and that unemployment is extremely bad for subjective well-being. In addition, we obtain some novel and interesting results for Italy including the following: income obtained by public transfers has a limited impact on subjective well-being; education increases happiness, even when controlling for income; Southern residents and individuals living in large cities are less happy; and social capital makes people happier. Finally, individuals care about relative income, in the sense that their happiness is negatively influenced by the income of others in their group of reference. Our results show that several non-economic variables are extremely important for subjective well-being.

Suggested Citation

  • Scoppa Vincenzo & Ponzo Michela, 2008. "An Empirical Study of Happiness in Italy," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 8(1), pages 1-23, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:bejeap:v:8:y:2008:i:1:n:15
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Anna Maffioletti & Agata Maida & Francesco Scacciati, 2013. "Survey Design and Response Analysis: a Study on Happiness, Life Satisfaction and Well-being in Piedmont, a Region of Italy," LABORatorio R. Revelli Working Papers Series 131, LABORatorio R. Revelli, Centre for Employment Studies.
    2. Ming-Chang Tsai, 2011. "If GDP is Not the Answer, What is the Question? The Juncture of Capabilities, Institutions and Measurement in the Stiglitz-Sen-Fitoussi Report," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 102(3), pages 363-372, July.
    3. Michela Ponzo, 2011. "Occupational Status and Individual Subjective Well-Being in Italy," QA - Rivista dell'Associazione Rossi-Doria, Associazione Rossi Doria, issue 3, September.
    4. Damiano Fiorillo, 2011. "Volunteer work and domain satisfactions: evidence from Italy," International Journal of Social Economics, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 39(1/2), pages 97-124, December.
    5. Pedersen, Peder J. & Schmidt, Torben Dall, 2009. "Happiness in Europe: Cross-Country Differences in the Determinants of Subjective Well-Being," IZA Discussion Papers 4538, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. Néstor Gándelman & Rubén Hernández-Murillo, 2009. "The impact of inflation and unemployment on subjective personal and country evaluations," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue May, pages 107-126.
    7. Eiji Yamamura, 2012. "The Effects of Information Asymmetry and Government Size on Happiness: A Case Study from Japan," The IUP Journal of Governance and Public Policy, IUP Publications, vol. 0(1), pages 7-20, March.
    8. Francesco Ferrante, 2009. "Education, Aspirations and Life Satisfaction," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 62(4), pages 542-562, November.
    9. Francesco Ferrante, 2014. "Great expectations The unintended consequences of educational choices," Working Papers 67, AlmaLaurea Inter-University Consortium.
    10. M. Pittau & Roberto Zelli & Andrew Gelman, 2010. "Economic Disparities and Life Satisfaction in European Regions," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 96(2), pages 339-361, April.
    11. Pedersen, Peder J. & Schmidt, Torben Dall, 2011. "Happiness in Europe," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 40(5), pages 480-489.

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