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Economic convergence and life satisfaction in the European Union

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  • Welsch, Heinz
  • Bonn, Udo

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Welsch, Heinz & Bonn, Udo, 2008. "Economic convergence and life satisfaction in the European Union," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 1153-1167, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:soceco:v:37:y:2008:i:3:p:1153-1167
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Milena Nikolova & Boris Nikolaev, 2017. "Does Joining the EU Make You Happy? Evidence from Bulgaria and Romania," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 18(6), pages 1593-1623, December.
    2. Eileen Trzcinski & Elke Holst, 2010. "Interrelationships among Locus of Control and Years in Management and Unemployment: Differences by Gender," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 974, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    3. Genovaitė Liobikienė & Justina Mandravickaitė, 2013. "Convergence of new members of the EU: changes in household consumption expenditure structure regarding environmental impact during the prosperous period," Environment, Development and Sustainability: A Multidisciplinary Approach to the Theory and Practice of Sustainable Development, Springer, vol. 15(2), pages 407-427, April.
    4. Peter Meer, 2014. "Gender, Unemployment and Subjective Well-Being: Why Being Unemployed Is Worse for Men than for Women," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 115(1), pages 23-44, January.
    5. Ingemar Johansson Sevä & Stig Vinberg & Mikael Nordenmark & Mattias Strandh, 2016. "Subjective well-being among the self-employed in Europe: macroeconomy, gender and immigrant status," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 46(2), pages 239-253, February.

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