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The relationship between happiness, health, and socio-economic factors: results based on Swedish microdata

  • Gerdtham, Ulf-G
  • Johannesson, Magnus

This paper investigates the relationship between happiness (utility) and a host of socio-economic variables. The data set consists of a random sample of over 5,000 individuals from the Swedish adult population. Happiness is measured by a three-point categorical measure of overall happiness (not happy, happy sometimes, happy most of the time), and an ordered probit model is used to econometrically estimate the happiness equation. The results are consistent with the theoretical predictions and show that happiness increases with income and education and decreases with unemployment, urbanisation, being single, and male gender. The relationship between age and happiness is U-shaped, with happiness being lowest in the age-group 45-64.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics).

Volume (Year): 30 (2001)
Issue (Month): 6 ()
Pages: 553-557

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Handle: RePEc:eee:soceco:v:30:y:2001:i:6:p:553-557
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/620175

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  1. Van Praag, Bernard, 1971. "The welfare function of income in Belgium: An empirical investigation," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 337-369.
  2. van Praag, Bernard M. S., 1991. "Ordinal and cardinal utility : An integration of the two dimensions of the welfare concept," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 50(1-2), pages 69-89, October.
  3. Cameron, A Colin & Trivedi, Pravin K, 1986. "Econometric Models Based on Count Data: Comparisons and Applications of Some Estimators and Tests," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 1(1), pages 29-53, January.
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  6. Kahneman, Daniel & Wakker, Peter P & Sarin, Rakesh, 1997. "Back to Bentham? Explorations of Experienced Utility," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(2), pages 375-405, May.
  7. Winkelmann, Liliana & Winkelmann, Rainer, 1998. "Why Are the Unemployed So Unhappy? Evidence from Panel Data," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 65(257), pages 1-15, February.
  8. Christensen, Laurits R & Jorgenson, Dale W & Lau, Lawrence J, 1975. "Transcendental Logarithmic Utility Functions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 65(3), pages 367-83, June.
  9. Christian Dustmann, 1996. "The social assimilation of immigrants," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 9(1), pages 37-54, February.
  10. Jorgenson, Dale W & Lau, Lawrence J & Stoker, Thomas M, 1980. "Welfare Comparison under Exact Aggregation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(2), pages 268-72, May.
  11. Tinbergen, Jan, 1991. "On the measurement of welfare," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 50(1-2), pages 7-13, October.
  12. Clark, Andrew E & Oswald, Andrew J, 1994. "Unhappiness and Unemployment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(424), pages 648-59, May.
  13. Wagstaff, Adam, 1986. "The demand for health : Some new empirical evidence," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(3), pages 195-233, September.
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