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National Happiness and Genetic Distance: A Cautious Exploration

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  • Eugenio Proto
  • Andrew J. Oswald

Abstract

This paper studies a famous unsolved puzzle in quantitative social science. Why do some nations report such high levels of mental well-being? Denmark, for instance, regularly tops the league table of rich countries’ happiness; Britain and the US enter further down; some nations do unexpectedly poorly. The explanation for the longobserved ranking - one that holds after adjustment for GDP and other socioeconomic variables - is currently unknown. Using data on 131 countries, the paper cautiously explores a new approach. It documents three forms of evidence consistent with the hypothesis that some nations may have a genetic advantage in well-being.
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Suggested Citation

  • Eugenio Proto & Andrew J. Oswald, 2017. "National Happiness and Genetic Distance: A Cautious Exploration," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 127(604), pages 2127-2152, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:econjl:v:127:y:2017:i:604:p:2127-2152
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/ecoj.2017.127.issue-604
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. National Happiness and Genetic Distance: A Cautious Exploration
      by maximorossi in NEP-LTV blog on 2016-07-22 18:22:07

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    Cited by:

    1. AMENDOLA, Adalgiso & DELL'ANNO, Roberto & PARISI, Lavinia, 2020. "Why Some People Are Not As Happy As They Could Be: The Role of Unobservable Subjective Factors," CELPE Discussion Papers 162, CELPE - Centre of Labour Economics and Economic Policy, University of Salerno, Italy.
    2. Conzo, Pierluigi & Aassve, Arnstein & Fuochi, Giulia & Mencarini, Letizia, 2017. "The cultural foundations of happiness," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 268-283.
    3. Nikolova, Milena, 2016. "Minding the happiness gap: Political institutions and perceived quality of life in transition," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 45(S), pages 129-148.
    4. Hadsell, Lester & Jones, Adam T, 2020. "The company you keep: Satisfaction with life, economic freedom, and preference-policy mismatch," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(3), pages 642-657.
    5. Maria João Guedes & Nicos Nicolaou & Pankaj C. Patel, 2019. "Genetic distance and the difference in new firm entry between countries," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 29(3), pages 973-1016, July.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I30 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being

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