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The role of socio-demographic factors on self-rated happiness: The case of Malaysia


  • Cheah, Yong Kang
  • Tang, Chor Foon


This study examines the role of socio-demographic determinants on individual’s level of happiness. Primary survey data on Penang, Malaysia is used for analysis. Based on the findings, being married and Malay are associated with higher probability of feeling very happy or happy. Nevertheless, individuals who suffer from chronic diseases are more likely to have unhappy or very unhappy feelings. The rest of the factors such as income, education, age, gender, and employment status are found to have insignificant effects on happiness. Several policy implications can be recommended based on the outcomes.

Suggested Citation

  • Cheah, Yong Kang & Tang, Chor Foon, 2011. "The role of socio-demographic factors on self-rated happiness: The case of Malaysia," MPRA Paper 29419, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:29419

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Oswald, Andrew J, 1997. "Happiness and Economic Performance," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(445), pages 1815-1831, November.
    2. Gerdtham, Ulf-G & Johannesson, Magnus, 2001. "The relationship between happiness, health, and socio-economic factors: results based on Swedish microdata," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 30(6), pages 553-557.
    3. Clark, Andrew E & Oswald, Andrew J, 1994. "Unhappiness and Unemployment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(424), pages 648-659, May.
    4. 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.
    5. Clark, Andrew E. & Oswald, Andrew J., 1996. "Satisfaction and comparison income," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(3), pages 359-381, September.
    6. Theodossiou, I., 1998. "The effects of low-pay and unemployment on psychological well-being: A logistic regression approach," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 85-104, January.
    7. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2002. "The Economics of Happiness," World Economics, World Economics, 1 Ivory Square, Plantation Wharf, London, United Kingdom, SW11 3UE, vol. 3(1), pages 25-41, January.
    8. Jacolyn Norrish & Dianne Vella-Brodrick, 2008. "Is the Study of Happiness a Worthy Scientific Pursuit?," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 87(3), pages 393-407, July.
    9. Winkelmann, Liliana & Winkelmann, Rainer, 1998. "Why Are the Unemployed So Unhappy? Evidence from Panel Data," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 65(257), pages 1-15, February.
    10. Yasuharu Tokuda & Takashi Inoguchi, 2008. "Interpersonal Mistrust and Unhappiness Among Japanese People," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 89(2), pages 349-360, November.
    11. Gerlach, Knut & Stephan, Gesine, 1996. "A paper on unhappiness and unemployment in Germany," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 52(3), pages 325-330, September.
    12. Ed Diener & Ed Sandvik & Larry Seidlitz & Marissa Diener, 1993. "The relationship between income and subjective well-being: Relative or absolute?," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 28(3), pages 195-223, March.
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    More about this item


    Education; Health; Happiness; Income; Malaysia; Well-being;

    JEL classification:

    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • D60 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - General

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