Estimating worldwide life satisfaction
Whilst studies of life satisfaction are becoming more common-place, their global coverage is far from complete. This paper develops a new database of life satisfaction scores for 178 countries, bringing together subjective well-being data from four surveys and using stepwise regression to estimate scores for nations where no subjective data are available. In doing so, we explore various factors that predict between-nation variation in subjective life satisfaction, building on Vemuri and Costanza's (Vemuri, A.W., & Costanza, R., 2006. The role of human, social, built, and natural capital in explaining life satisfaction at the country level: toward a National Well-Being Index (NWI). Ecological Economics, 58:119-133.) four capitals model. The main regression model explains 76% of variation in existing subjective scores; importantly, this includes poorer nations that had proven problematic in Vemuri and Costanza's (Vemuri, A.W., & Costanza, R., 2006. The role of human, social, built, and natural capital in explaining life satisfaction at the country level: toward a National Well-Being Index (NWI). Ecological Economics, 58:119-133.) study. Natural, human and socio-political capitals are all found to be strong predictors of life satisfaction. Built capital, operationalised as GDP, did not enter our regression model, being overshadowed by the human capital and socio-political capital factors that it inter-correlates with. The final database presents a stop-gap resource that, until robust surveys are carried out worldwide, allows comparisons of subjective life satisfaction between nations to be made with reasonable confidence.
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Katrin Rehdanz & David J. Maddison, 2003.
"Climate and Happiness,"
FNU-20, Research unit Sustainability and Global Change, Hamburg University, revised Apr 2003.
- Ruut Veenhoven, 1991. "Is happiness relative?," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 24(1), pages 1-34, February.
- Michael Hagerty, 1999. "Testing Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs: National Quality-of-Life Across Time," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 46(3), pages 249-271, March.
- Ed Diener & Christie Napa-Scollon & Shigehiro Oishi & Vivian Dzokoto & Eunkook Suh, 2000. "Positivity and the Construction of Life Satisfaction Judgments: Global Happiness is not the Sum of its Parts," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 1(2), pages 159-176, June.
- Sutton, Paul C. & Costanza, Robert, 2002. "Global estimates of market and non-market values derived from nighttime satellite imagery, land cover, and ecosystem service valuation," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(3), pages 509-527, June.
- Ed Diener & Eunkook Suh & Heidi Smith & Liang Shao, 1995. "National differences in reported subjective well-being: Why do they occur?," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 34(1), pages 7-32, January.
- Vemuri, Amanda W. & Costanza, Robert, 2006. "The role of human, social, built, and natural capital in explaining life satisfaction at the country level: Toward a National Well-Being Index (NWI)," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(1), pages 119-133, June.
- Peggy Schyns, 2002. "Wealth Of Nations, Individual Income andLife Satisfaction in 42 Countries:A Multilevel Approach," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 60(1), pages 5-40, December.
- Geeta Gandhi Kingdon & John Knight, 2006. "Subjective well-being poverty vs. Income poverty and capabilities poverty?," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 42(7), pages 1199-1224.
- Ruut Veenhoven, 2001. "Are the Russians as Unhappy as they say they are?," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 2(2), pages 111-136, June.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:65:y:2008:i:1:p:35-47. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Zhang, Lei)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.