IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Geography of Economics and Happiness


  • Luca Stanca



This paper investigates the spatial pattern of the e®ects of eco- nomic conditions on subjective well-being, using a large sample of in- dividuals from 81 countries throughout the world. We ¯nd evidence of substantial spatial heterogeneity and spatial dependence in the cross- country distribution of the e®ects of income and unemployment on happiness. We examine the impact of macroeconomic conditions on country-level sensitivities of subjective well-being to microeconomic conditions. The e®ect of income on well-being is found to be signif- icantly stronger in countries with lower GDP per capita and higher unemployment rate. The e®ect of unemployment on well-being is in- stead signi¯cantly stronger in countries with higher GDP per capita and higher unemployment rate.

Suggested Citation

  • Luca Stanca, 2008. "The Geography of Economics and Happiness," Working Papers 140, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised Jun 2008.
  • Handle: RePEc:mib:wpaper:140

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: First version, 2008
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Rafael Di Tella & Robert J. MacCulloch & Andrew J. Oswald, 2003. "The Macroeconomics of Happiness," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(4), pages 809-827, November.
    2. Stutzer, Alois, 2004. "The role of income aspirations in individual happiness," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 89-109, May.
    3. Robert J. MacCulloch & Rafael Di Tella & Andrew J. Oswald, 2001. "Preferences over Inflation and Unemployment: Evidence from Surveys of Happiness," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 335-341, March.
    4. Oswald, Andrew J, 1997. "Happiness and Economic Performance," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(445), pages 1815-1831, November.
    5. Clark, Andrew E & Oswald, Andrew J, 1994. "Unhappiness and Unemployment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(424), pages 648-659, May.
    6. David G. Blanchflower, 2009. "International Evidence on Well-Being," NBER Chapters,in: Measuring the Subjective Well-Being of Nations: National Accounts of Time Use and Well-Being, pages 155-226 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Luigino Bruni & Luca Stanca, 2006. "Income Aspirations, Television and Happiness: Evidence from the World Values Survey," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 59(2), pages 209-225, May.
    8. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2002. "What Can Economists Learn from Happiness Research?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(2), pages 402-435, June.
    9. Helliwell, John F., 2003. "How's life? Combining individual and national variables to explain subjective well-being," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 331-360, March.
    10. Brereton, Finbarr & Clinch, J. Peter & Ferreira, Susana, 2008. "Happiness, geography and the environment," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 386-396, April.
    11. Ferrer-i-Carbonell, Ada & Gowdy, John M., 2007. "Environmental degradation and happiness," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(3), pages 509-516, January.
    12. Bruni, Luigino & Stanca, Luca, 2008. "Watching alone: Relational goods, television and happiness," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 65(3-4), pages 506-528, March.
    13. Rafael Di Tella & Robert MacCulloch, 2006. "Some Uses of Happiness Data in Economics," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(1), pages 25-46, Winter.
    14. Aslam, A. & Corrado, L., 2007. "No Man is an Island, the Inter-personal Determinants of Regional Well-Being in Europe," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0717, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Migheli, Matteo, 2009. "Religiosity and happiness: an ever-winning couple? An answer from India," POLIS Working Papers 126, Institute of Public Policy and Public Choice - POLIS.

    More about this item


    subjective well-being; economic geography; spatial econometrics;

    JEL classification:

    • A12 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Other Disciplines
    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:mib:wpaper:140. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Matteo Pelagatti). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.