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Cross-country determinants of life satisfaction: exploring different determinants across groups in society

  • Christian Bjørnskov
  • Axel Dreher


  • Justina Fischer

This paper explores a wide range of cross-country determinants of life satisfaction exploiting adatabase of 90,000 observations in 70 countries. We distinguish four groups of aggregate variablesas potential determinants of satisfaction: political, economic, institutional, and human developmentand culture. We use ordered probit to investigate the importance of these variables on individual lifesatisfaction and test the robustness of our results with Extreme Bounds Analysis. The results showthat only a small number of factors, such as openness, business climate, postcommunism, thenumber of chambers in parliament, Christian majority, and infant mortality robustly influence lifesatisfaction across countries while the importance of many variables suggested in the previousliterature is not confirmed. This remains largely true when the analysis splits national populationsaccording to gender, income and political orientation also.

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Article provided by Springer in its journal Social Choice and Welfare.

Volume (Year): 30 (2008)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
Pages: 119-173

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Handle: RePEc:spr:sochwe:v:30:y:2008:i:1:p:119-173
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