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Healthy and happy in Europe? On the association between happiness and life expectancy over time

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  • Bjørnskov, Christian

Abstract

This paper revisits the standard finding in individual-level studies that happiness leads to longevity. It does so in a cross-country time-series analysis in which the use of a random effects estimator controls for most relevant time-invariant factors. The findings suggest that happiness is negatively associated with longevity at the national level, and suggests a potential indirect transmission channel, as national happiness is negatively associated with public health expenditures. The paper concludes by discussing the implications of the results for public policy and future research.

Suggested Citation

  • Bjørnskov, Christian, 2008. "Healthy and happy in Europe? On the association between happiness and life expectancy over time," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 66(8), pages 1750-1759, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:66:y:2008:i:8:p:1750-1759
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. repec:aph:ajpbhl:1994:84:5:819-824_5 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Peggy Schyns, 1998. "Crossnational Differences in Happiness: Economic and Cultural Factors Explored," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 43(1), pages 3-26, February.
    3. Yip, Winnie & Subramanian, S.V. & Mitchell, Andrew D. & Lee, Dominic T.S. & Wang, Jian & Kawachi, Ichiro, 2007. "Does social capital enhance health and well-being? Evidence from rural China," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 35-49, January.
    4. Richard Layard, 2006. "Happiness and Public Policy: a Challenge to the Profession," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 116(510), pages 24-33, March.
    5. Barro, Robert J & Lee, Jong-Wha, 2001. "International Data on Educational Attainment: Updates and Implications," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 53(3), pages 541-563, July.
    6. Christian Bjørnskov & Axel Dreher & Justina Fischer, 2007. "The bigger the better? Evidence of the effect of government size on life satisfaction around the world," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 130(3), pages 267-292, March.
    7. Fiscella, Kevin & Franks, Peter, 1997. "Does psychological distress contribute to racial and socioeconomic disparities in mortality?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 45(12), pages 1805-1809, December.
    8. Charles F. Manski, 2000. "Economic Analysis of Social Interactions," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(3), pages 115-136, Summer.
    9. Tyler Cowen, 2005. "Self-deception as the root of political failure," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 124(3), pages 437-451, September.
    10. Graham, Carol & Eggers, Andrew & Sukhtankar, Sandip, 2004. "Does happiness pay?: An exploration based on panel data from Russia," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 55(3), pages 319-342, November.
    11. Kenny, Charles, 1999. "Does Growth Cause Happiness, or Does Happiness Cause Growth?," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(1), pages 3-25.
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    Cited by:

    1. Fiorillo, Damiano & Sabatini, Fabio, 2015. "Structural social capital and health in Italy," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 17(C), pages 129-142.
    2. Junji Kageyama, 2012. "Happiness and Sex Difference in Life Expectancy," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 13(5), pages 947-967, October.
    3. Senasu, Kalayanee & Singhapakdi, Anusorn, 2014. "Happiness in Thailand: The Effects of Family, Health and Job Satisfaction, and the Moderating Role of Gender," Working Papers 76, JICA Research Institute.
    4. Sabatini, Fabio, 2014. "The relationship between happiness and health: Evidence from Italy," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 114(C), pages 178-187.

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