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The Impact of Culture on Well-Being: Evidence from a Natural Experiment

Listed author(s):
  • Gábor Hajdu

    ()

    (Hungarian Academy of Sciences
    MTA-ELTE Peripato Comparative Social Dynamics Research Group)

  • Tamás Hajdu

    ()

    (Hungarian Academy of Sciences)

Abstract This paper examines the effect of culture on subjective well-being. By exploiting the natural experiment of migration we are able to separate the effect of culture (intrinsic cultural disposition, values, beliefs, norms) from other extrinsic institutional, economic and social factors. Using data from five rounds of the European Social Survey we find that holding constant the external environment (living in the same residence country) and controlling for the important socio-demographic attributes, immigrants from countries with high levels of life satisfaction report higher life satisfaction than immigrants from countries with low levels of life satisfaction. The effect of satisfaction in the birth country lasts across generations and is stronger for immigrants who are more attached to the culture of their birth country. Since any observed differences among the immigrants is their cultural background (their birth countries), the results can be interpreted as the effect of culture on life satisfaction. Our results suggest that besides economic and social variables, institutions and personal characteristics, cultural factors play an important role in satisfaction.

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File URL: http://link.springer.com/10.1007/s10902-015-9633-9
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Article provided by Springer in its journal Journal of Happiness Studies.

Volume (Year): 17 (2016)
Issue (Month): 3 (June)
Pages: 1089-1110

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Handle: RePEc:spr:jhappi:v:17:y:2016:i:3:d:10.1007_s10902-015-9633-9
DOI: 10.1007/s10902-015-9633-9
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.springer.com

Order Information: Web: http://www.springer.com/social+sciences/wellbeing+%26+quality-of-life/journal/10902/PS2

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