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Economic convergence and life satisfaction in the European Union

  • Welsch, Heinz
  • Bonn, Udo

The issue of convergence or divergence in the European Union (EU) is usually viewed from a macroeconomic perspective, using indicators such as the income per head, the unemployment rate and the inflation rate. Little attention has been paid to the possibility of an associated convergence in 'well-being' across countries. Since recent literature has shown that subjective well-being (life satisfaction, 'happiness') is significantly affected by macroeconomic variables, it is natural to ask not only whether or not subjective well-being converges, but also, whether, how and to what extent this process is linked to macroeconomic convergence. In this paper we use self-rated life satisfaction elicited in large scale surveys to address these questions. We find evidence of convergence of life satisfaction across the member states of the EU, which can be attributed to a considerable extent to the convergence in macroeconomic conditions. Among the various macroeconomic indicators, the convergence in inflation rates has played a major role for the convergence in life satisfaction.

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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): 37 (2008)
Issue (Month): 3 (June)
Pages: 1153-1167

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Handle: RePEc:eee:soceco:v:37:y:2008:i:3:p:1153-1167
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/620175

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