IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/rza/wpaper/16.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

What is the Structure of South African Happiness Equations? Evidence from Quality of Life Surveys

Author

Listed:
  • Timothy Hinks
  • Carola Gruen

Abstract

The issue of what determines subjective well-being has been at the centre of a recent flurry of research in the economics field. A necessary part of this understanding is the role relative positions (economic, social, geographic) of economic agents, particularly individuals, play in life (commonly referred to in the literature as rivalry). In this paper we concentrate on whether the structure of happiness equations of South Africa are the same/similar to those of developed countries. The analysis uses three of the Durban Quality of Life Studies. Firstly these three data series are pooled and a variety of covariates are tested for their significance on happiness. These include age, marital status, employment status, household income and relative household income. Next we estimate yearly cross-sectional models to see if there are consistent findings of what determines happiness across the period considered. Our findings indicate there maybe some structural differences between results from the Durban studies and those of international findings. Age appears to play no role in happiness likelihood, nor does marital status. Being unemployed does significantly and negatively effect happiness as does the size of household income, relative household income and whether living in a formal dwelling place. When we distinguish between employment categories we find that being self-employed negatively affects happiness, contradicting findings for developed countries. Future research will concentrate on the most recent Durban studies, in which information on health and crime are available, both of which are expected to significantly effect happiness given the well documented nature of these problems in South Africa.

Suggested Citation

  • Timothy Hinks & Carola Gruen, 2005. "What is the Structure of South African Happiness Equations? Evidence from Quality of Life Surveys," Working Papers 16, Economic Research Southern Africa.
  • Handle: RePEc:rza:wpaper:16
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.econrsa.org/node/41
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Paul Allanson & Jonathan Atkins, 2005. "The Evolution of the Racial Wage Hierarchy in Post-Apartheid South Africa," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 41(6), pages 1023-1050.
    2. Blanchflower, David G. & Oswald, Andrew J., 2004. "Well-being over time in Britain and the USA," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(7-8), pages 1359-1386, July.
    3. Nattavudh Powdthavee, 2005. "Unhappiness and Crime: Evidence from South Africa," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 72(3), pages 531-547, August.
    4. 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.
    5. Oswald, Andrew J, 1997. "Happiness and Economic Performance," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(445), pages 1815-1831, November.
    6. Powdthavee, Nattavudh, 2003. "Is The Structure Of Happiness Equations The Same In Poor And Rich Countries? The Case Of South Africa," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 675, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
    7. Hayo, Bernd & Seifert, Wolfgang, 2003. "Subjective economic well-being in Eastern Europe," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 329-348, June.
    8. Clark, Andrew E & Oswald, Andrew J, 1994. "Unhappiness and Unemployment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(424), pages 648-659, May.
    9. 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.
    10. Mich Brookes & Timothy Hinks, 2004. "The Racial Employment Gap In South Africa," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 72(3), pages 573-580, September.
    11. Geeta G. Kingdon & John Knight, 2003. "Well-being poverty versus income poverty and capabilities poverty?," CSAE Working Paper Series 2003-16, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
    12. Namazie, Ceema & Sanfey, Peter, 2001. "Happiness and Transition: The Case of Kyrgyzstan," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 5(3), pages 392-405, October.
    13. Clark, Andrew E. & Oswald, Andrew J., 1996. "Satisfaction and comparison income," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(3), pages 359-381, September.
    14. Dowrick, Steve & Quiggin, John, 1994. "International Comparisons of Living Standards and Tastes: A Revealed-Preference Analysis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(1), pages 332-341, March.
    15. Easterlin, Richard A, 2001. "Income and Happiness: Towards an Unified Theory," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(473), pages 465-484, July.
    16. 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.
    17. Konow, James & Earley, Joseph, 2008. "The Hedonistic Paradox: Is homo economicus happier," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(1-2), pages 1-33, February.
    18. C. Graham & S. Pettinato, 2002. "Frustrated Achievers: Winners, Losers and Subjective Well-Being in New Market Economies," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 38(4), pages 100-140.
    19. Kingdon, Geeta Gandhi & Knight, John, 2004. "Unemployment in South Africa: The Nature of the Beast," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 391-408, March.
    20. Clark, Andrew E. & Oswald, Andrew J. & Warr, Peter B., 1994. "Is job satisfaction u-shaped in age ?," CEPREMAP Working Papers (Couverture Orange) 9407, CEPREMAP.
    21. Hayo, Bernd, 2007. "Happiness in transition: An empirical study on Eastern Europe," Economic Systems, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 204-221, June.
    22. Easterlin, Richard A., 1995. "Will raising the incomes of all increase the happiness of all?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 35-47, June.
    23. Allanson, Paul & Atkins, Jonathan P & Hinks, Timothy, 2002. "No End to the Racial Wage Hierarchy in South Africa?," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 6(3), pages 442-459, October.
    24. Olof Johansson-Stenman & Fredrik Carlsson & Dinky Daruvala, 2002. "Measuring Future Grandparents" Preferences for Equality and Relative Standing," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(479), pages 362-383, April.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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


    Cited by:

    1. Simon Davies & Tim Hinks, 2010. "Crime and Happiness Amongst Heads of Households in Malawi," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 11(4), pages 457-476, August.
    2. Talita Greyling & Fiona Tregenna, 2017. "Construction and Analysis of a Composite Quality of Life Index for a Region of South Africa," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 131(3), pages 887-930, April.
    3. Tim Hinks & Simon Davies, 2008. "Life satisfaction in Malawi and the importance of relative consumption, polygamy and religion," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 20(7), pages 888-904.
    4. Ferdi Botha, 2014. "Life Satisfaction and Education in South Africa: Investigating the Role of Attainment and the Likelihood of Education as a Positional Good," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 118(2), pages 555-578, September.
    5. Timothy Hinks, 2012. "Fractionalization and well-being: Evidence from a new South African data set," New Zealand Economic Papers, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 46(3), pages 253-271, December.
    6. Ebrahim, Amina, 2010. "The Determinants Of Happiness Among Race Groups In South Africa," Honours Students' Projects 107588, Rhodes University, Department of Economics and Economic History.
    7. 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.
    8. Tim Hinks, 2010. "Job Satisfaction and Employment Equity in South Africa," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 19(2), pages 237-255, March.
    9. Byela Tibesigwa & Martine Visser & Brennan Hodkinson, 2016. "Effects of Objective and Subjective Income Comparisons on Subjective Wellbeing," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 128(1), pages 361-389, August.
    10. Sibylle Puntscher & Janette Walde & Gottfried Tappeiner, 2016. "Do methodical traps lead to wrong development strategies for welfare? A multilevel approach considering heterogeneity across industrialized and developing countries," Working Papers 2016-01, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.
    11. repec:spr:soinre:v:135:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s11205-016-1473-4 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Dorrit Posel & Daniela Casale, 2011. "Relative Standing and Subjective Well-Being in South Africa: The Role of Perceptions, Expectations and Income Mobility," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 104(2), pages 195-223, November.
    13. Ferdi Botha & Frikkie Booysen, 2013. "The Gold of One’s Ring is Not Far More Precious than the Gold of One’s Heart: Reported Life Satisfaction Among Married and Cohabitating South African Adults," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 14(2), pages 433-456, April.
    14. repec:dug:actaec:y:2017:i:3:p:155-168 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. I. Khumalo & Q. Temane & M. Wissing, 2012. "Socio-Demographic Variables, General Psychological Well-Being and the Mental Health Continuum in an African Context," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 105(3), pages 419-442, February.
    16. Ebrahim, Amina, 2010. "The Determinants Of Happiness Among Race Groups In South Africa," Honours Students' Projects 2010 107588, Rhodes University, Department of Economics and Economic History.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • J10 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - General
    • O55 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Africa

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    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:rza:wpaper:16. 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: (Charles Tanton). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/ersacza.html .

    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.