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Europe’s capital cities and the happiness penalty: an investigation using the European Social Survey

  • Piper, Alan T.

This study investigates in three steps whether there is an association between happiness and living in one of Europe’s capital cities. Making use of the European Social Survey, the first step is a raw unadjusted correlation assessment which finds a negative and statistically significant effect on happiness of living in one of Europe’s capitals. The second step is the addition of socio-economic controls which (overall) increases the happiness penalty associated with living in a European capital city. This picture, like that of the initial finding, is different in different capitals; however no capital is associated with higher levels of happiness than elsewhere in that country. The third step adds environmental factors and perceptions (safety of local area, worries about crime, for example) to control for potential confounding factors. Tentative evidence is also presented that this is not just a big city effect. Overall, there is a happiness penalty associated with living in Europe’s capitals though this result is dominated by a few particularly unhappy capitals.

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File URL: http://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/47793/1/MPRA_paper_47793.pdf
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File URL: http://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/53390/8/MPRA_paper_53390.pdf
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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 47793.

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Date of creation: Jun 2013
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:47793
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  1. Easterlin, Richard A, 2001. "Income and Happiness: Towards an Unified Theory," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(473), pages 465-84, July.
  2. Blanchflower, David G. & Oswald, Andrew J. & Stewart-Brown, Sarah, 2012. "Is Psychological Well-being Linked to the Consumption of Fruit and Vegetables?," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 996, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  3. Leonardo Becchetti & Andrew E. Clark & Elena Giachin Ricca, 2011. "The Value of Diplomacy: Bilateral Relations and Immigrant Well-Being," CEIS Research Paper 190, Tor Vergata University, CEIS, revised 29 Mar 2011.
  4. MacKerron, George & Mourato, Susana, 2009. "Life satisfaction and air quality in London," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(5), pages 1441-1453, March.
  5. Dolan, Paul & Peasgood, Tessa & White, Mathew, 2008. "Do we really know what makes us happy A review of the economic literature on the factors associated with subjective well-being," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 94-122, February.
  6. Bernard M.S. van Praag & Barbara E. Baarsma, 2004. "Using Happiness Surveys to Value Intangibles: The Case of Airport Noise," CESifo Working Paper Series 1163, CESifo Group Munich.
  7. Daniel Kahneman & Alan B. Krueger, 2006. "Developments in the Measurement of Subjective Well-Being," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(1), pages 3-24, Winter.
  8. Böhnke, Petra & Kohler, Ulrich, 2008. "Well-being and inequality," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Inequality and Social Integration SP I 2008-201, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
  9. Oswald, Andrew J. & Wu, Stephen, 2010. "Objective Confirmation of Subjective Measures of Human Well-being: Evidence from the USA," IZA Discussion Papers 4695, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. repec:hal:wpaper:halshs-00580907 is not listed on IDEAS
  11. Lasse Steiner & Bruno S. Frey & Simone Hotz, 2013. "European Capitals of Culture and Life Satisfaction," CREMA Working Paper Series 2013-07, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
  12. Gerd Grözinger & Wenzel Matiaske, 2014. "The Direct and Indirect Impact of Religion on Well-Being in Germany," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 116(2), pages 373-387, April.
  13. Piper, Alan T., 2012. "Heaven knows I’m miserable now: overeducation and reduced life satisfaction," MPRA Paper 43259, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  14. Leonardo Becchetti & Andrew E. Clark & Elena Giachin Ricco, 2011. "The value of diplomacy: Bilateral relations and immigrant well-being," PSE Working Papers halshs-00580907, HAL.
  15. Andrew E. Clark & Paul Frijters & Michael A. Shields, 2008. "Relative Income, Happiness, and Utility: An Explanation for the Easterlin Paradox and Other Puzzles," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 46(1), pages 95-144, March.
  16. Johannes Vatter, 2012. "Well-Being in Germany: What Explains the Regional Variation?," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 435, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  17. Ferreira, Susana & Akay, Alpaslan & Brereton, Finbarr & Cuñado, Juncal & Martinsson, Peter & Moro, Mirko, 2012. "Life Satisfaction and Air Quality in Europe," IZA Discussion Papers 6732, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  18. Andrew E. Clark & Conchita D'Ambrosio & Simone Ghislandi, 2013. "Poverty and Well-Being: Panel Evidence from Germany," PSE Working Papers hal-00814659, HAL.
  19. Piper, Alan T., 2012. "Dynamic Analysis and the Economics of Happiness: Rationale, Results and Rules," MPRA Paper 43248, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Dec 2012.
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