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The Happy Farmer: Self-Employment and Subjective Well-Being in Rural Vietnam

Author

Listed:
  • Thomas Markussen

    (University of Copenhagen)

  • Maria Fibæk

    (Lund University)

  • Finn Tarp

    (University of Copenhagen
    UNU-WIDER)

  • Nguyen Do Anh Tuan

    (IPSARD)

Abstract

Using a unique survey data set this paper documents a positive effect of self-employment in farming on subjective well-being. This direct effect is only partly offset by negative, indirect effects working through income and other variables. These findings are interpreted as effects of self-employment in farming on perceived autonomy, competence and relatedness. The results suggest that economic transformation is associated with a psychological cost, which may contribute to explaining earnings gaps between sectors and types of employment. We also investigate other determinants of happiness, and for example find strong positive effects of own income and strong negative effects of neighbors’ income, suggesting the importance of relative rather than absolute levels of income.

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas Markussen & Maria Fibæk & Finn Tarp & Nguyen Do Anh Tuan, 2018. "The Happy Farmer: Self-Employment and Subjective Well-Being in Rural Vietnam," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 19(6), pages 1613-1636, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:jhappi:v:19:y:2018:i:6:d:10.1007_s10902-017-9858-x
    DOI: 10.1007/s10902-017-9858-x
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    2. Nguyen, Giang & Nguyen, Trung Thanh, 2020. "Exposure to weather shocks: A comparison between self-reported record and extreme weather data," Economic Analysis and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 65(C), pages 117-138.
    3. Shuai Zhang & Binbin Liu & Dajian Zhu & Mingwang Cheng, 2018. "Explaining Individual Subjective Well-Being of Urban China Based on the Four-Capital Model," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 10(10), pages 1-14, September.
    4. Ulrik Beck & Saurabh Singhal & Finn Tarp, 2016. "Coffee price volatility and intra-household labour supply: Evidence from Vietnam," WIDER Working Paper Series wp-2016-16, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    5. Finn Tarp, 2018. "Vietnam: The dragon that rose from the ashes," WIDER Working Paper Series 126, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).

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