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Happiness, Meaning of Life and Income


  • Lois Duff

    () (University of the West of England)

  • Artjoms Ivlevs

    () (University of the West of England)


The paper explores the non-material determinants of happiness. We go beyond the well-established result that individual ‘religiousness’ is positively correlated with happiness and look at a broader spiritual activity - time spent thinking about the meaning and purpose of life (MPL). We study the determinants of this activity and its potential role in explaining happiness. Using World Values Survey 1994-2007 data for 85 countries in an ordered logit model, we find that the educated, the religious, females and the middle aged are more likely to spend time thinking about the MPL. The correlation between happiness and thinking about the MPL depends on a country’s income: it is negative in high income countries and positive in low income countries.

Suggested Citation

  • Lois Duff & Artjoms Ivlevs, 2011. "Happiness, Meaning of Life and Income," Working Papers 1108, Department of Accounting, Economics and Finance, Bristol Business School, University of the West of England, Bristol.
  • Handle: RePEc:uwe:wpaper:1108

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    File Function: First version, 2011
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    Blog mentions

    As found by, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. The meaning of life
      by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2011-06-20 18:39:02

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    Happiness; life satisfaction; meaning of life; religion.;

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