Education and happiness in Spain
In: Investigaciones de Economía de la Educación 5
Quality of life has emerged over the last decades as an important policy and intellectual preoccupation. How to best measure quality of life, however, remains an open question. Since, as early as in the 1950s and 1960s, it has become clear that, in spite of its widespread use, monetary socio-economic indicators (such as per capita GNP) are an insufficient measure of the well-being of citizens (e.g., United Nations, 1954; Erikson, 1993), and the current consensus even among economists is that the employment of monetary indicators to measure welfare is far from perfect (e.g., Ng, 1997; Frey and Stutzer, 2000, 2002; Gowdy, 2004). Over the last decades, subjective well-being indicators have emerged as a valid measure of individual welfare, opening the door to a new paradigm for policy-making which sets people’s happiness, rather than national income, as the goal that policy makers should try to maximise. In this context the understanding of the determinants of happiness or life satisfaction becomes critical to evaluate the success of European countries at promoting the personal and social well-being of their citizens. The relationship between education and happiness has not received much attention so far. Although some empirical studies find a positive effect of education on happiness (Di Tella, Macculloch and Oswald, 2001; Becchetti, Castriota and Londoño, 2006; Albert and Davia, 2005), the empirical evidence on the link between these two variables is not conclusive. The objective of this paper is to analyze the relationship between education and happiness (and life-satisfaction) using data from the European Social Survey for individuals living in the Spanish regions. Since the dependent variable (happiness and/or life-satisfaction) is an index which takes values 1 to 10, the econometric analysis is performed using a Multinominal Ordered Logit Model.
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