IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/zbw/glodps/1061.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

A measure of well-being efficiency based on the World Happiness Report

Author

Listed:
  • Sarracino, Francesco
  • O'Connor, Kelsey J.

Abstract

We propose a measure of well-being efficiency to assess countries' ability to transform inputs into subjective well-being (Cantril ladder). We use the six inputs (real GDP per capita, healthy life expectancy, social support, freedom of choice, absence of corruption, and generosity) identified in the World Happiness Reports and apply Data Envelopment Analysis to a sample of 126 countries. Efficiency scores reveal that high ranking subjective well-being countries, such as the Nordics, are not strictly the most efficient ones. Also, the scores are uncorrelated with economic efficiency. This means that the implicit assumption that economic efficiency promotes well-being is not supported. Well-being efficiency can be improved by changing the amount (scale) or composition of inputs and their use (technical efficiency). For instance countries with lower unemployment, and greater healthy life expectancy and optimism are more efficient.

Suggested Citation

  • Sarracino, Francesco & O'Connor, Kelsey J., 2022. "A measure of well-being efficiency based on the World Happiness Report," GLO Discussion Paper Series 1061, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:glodps:1061
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://www.econstor.eu/bitstream/10419/251216/1/GLO-DP-1061.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Robert C. Feenstra & Robert Inklaar & Marcel P. Timmer, 2015. "The Next Generation of the Penn World Table," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(10), pages 3150-3182, October.
    2. Bruno Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2010. "Happiness and public choice," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 144(3), pages 557-573, September.
    3. Clark, Andrew E & Georgellis, Yannis & Sanfey, Peter, 2001. "Scarring: The Psychological Impact of Past Unemployment," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 68(270), pages 221-241, May.
    4. Zoltán J. Acs & David B. Audretsch & Erik E. Lehmann & Georg Licht, 2016. "National systems of entrepreneurship," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 46(4), pages 527-535, April.
    5. Ruut Veenhoven, 1991. "Is happiness relative?," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 24(1), pages 1-34, February.
    6. Charles Henri DiMaria & Chiara Peroni & Francesco Sarracino, 2020. "Happiness Matters: Productivity Gains from Subjective Well-Being," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 21(1), pages 139-160, January.
    7. Andrew E. Clark, 2018. "Four Decades of the Economics of Happiness: Where Next?," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 64(2), pages 245-269, June.
    8. Jan-Emmanuel De Neve & Ed Diener & Louis Tay & Cody Xuereb, 2013. "The Objective Benefits of Subjective Well-Being," CEP Discussion Papers dp1236, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    9. Emrouznejad, Ali & Yang, Guo-liang, 2018. "A survey and analysis of the first 40 years of scholarly literature in DEA: 1978–2016," Socio-Economic Planning Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 4-8.
    10. John F. Helliwell & Christopher P. Barrington-Leigh & Anthony Harris & Haifang Huang, 2009. "International Evidence on the Social Context of Well-Being," NBER Working Papers 14720, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Strauss, John, 1986. "Does Better Nutrition Raise Farm Productivity?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(2), pages 297-320, April.
    12. Mikucka, Malgorzata & Sarracino, Francesco & Dubrow, Joshua K., 2017. "When Does Economic Growth Improve Life Satisfaction? Multilevel Analysis of the Roles of Social Trust and Income Inequality in 46 Countries, 1981–2012," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 447-459.
    13. Sarracino, Francesco, 2013. "Determinants of subjective well-being in high and low income countries: Do happiness equations differ across countries?," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 51-66.
    14. Helliwell, John F. & Huang, Haifang & Grover, Shawn & Wang, Shun, 2018. "Empirical linkages between good governance and national well-being," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(4), pages 1332-1346.
    15. Liu, John S. & Lu, Louis Y.Y. & Lu, Wen-Min & Lin, Bruce J.Y., 2013. "A survey of DEA applications," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 41(5), pages 893-902.
    16. Jorge Guardiola & Andrés Picazo-Tadeo, 2014. "Building Weighted-Domain Composite Indices of Life Satisfaction with Data Envelopment Analysis," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 117(1), pages 257-274, May.
    17. Charnes, A. & Cooper, W. W. & Rhodes, E., 1978. "Measuring the efficiency of decision making units," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 2(6), pages 429-444, November.
    18. Charles-Henri DiMaria & Chiara Peroni & Francesco Sarracino, 2022. "From Economic Productivity to Productive Well-Being: the Role of Life Satisfaction and Adjusted Net Savings," International Productivity Monitor, Centre for the Study of Living Standards, vol. 43, pages 62-80, Fall.
    19. Andrew Clark & Yannis Georgellis & Peter Sanfey, 2001. "Scarring: The Psychological Impact of Past Unemployment," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 68(270), pages 221-241, May.
    20. Cristina Bernini & Andrea Guizzardi & Giovanni Angelini, 2013. "DEA-Like Model and Common Weights Approach for the Construction of a Subjective Community Well-Being Indicator," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 114(2), pages 405-424, November.
    21. Oliviero Carboni & Paolo Russu, 2015. "Assessing Regional Wellbeing in Italy: An Application of Malmquist–DEA and Self-organizing Map Neural Clustering," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 122(3), pages 677-700, July.
    22. Morgan, Robson & O'Connor, Kelsey J., 2017. "Experienced Life Cycle Satisfaction in Europe," Review of Behavioral Economics, now publishers, vol. 4(4), pages 371-396, December.
    23. Jose Manuel Cordero & Cristina Polo & Javier Salinas-Jiménez, 2021. "Subjective Well-Being and Heterogeneous Contexts: A Cross-National Study Using Semi-Nonparametric Frontier Methods," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 22(2), pages 867-886, February.
    24. Martin Binder & Tom Broekel, 2012. "Happiness No Matter the Cost? An Examination on How Efficiently Individuals Reach Their Happiness Levels," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 13(4), pages 621-645, August.
    25. Pilar Murias & Fidel Martinez & Carlos Miguel, 2006. "An Economic Wellbeing Index for the Spanish Provinces: A Data Envelopment Analysis Approach," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 77(3), pages 395-417, July.
    26. Nikolova Milena & Popova Olga, 2021. "Sometimes Your Best Just Ain’t Good Enough: The Worldwide Evidence on Subjective Well-being Efficiency," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 21(1), pages 83-114, January.
    27. Bartolini, Stefano & Bilancini, Ennio & Bruni, Luigino & Porta, Pier Luigi (ed.), 2016. "Policies for Happiness," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198758730, Decembrie.
    28. Roma Debnath & Ravi Shankar, 2014. "Does Good Governance Enhance Happiness: A Cross Nation Study," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 116(1), pages 235-253, March.
    29. Marc Fleurbaey, 2009. "Beyond GDP: The Quest for a Measure of Social Welfare," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(4), pages 1029-1075, December.
    30. Pranab Bardhan, 1997. "Corruption and Development: A Review of Issues," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(3), pages 1320-1346, September.
    31. Timothy J. Coelli & D.S. Prasada Rao & Christopher J. O’Donnell & George E. Battese, 2005. "An Introduction to Efficiency and Productivity Analysis," Springer Books, Springer, edition 0, number 978-0-387-25895-9, June.
    32. Mariano Rojas (ed.), 2019. "The Economics of Happiness," Springer Books, Springer, number 978-3-030-15835-4, June.
    33. R. D. Banker & A. Charnes & W. W. Cooper, 1984. "Some Models for Estimating Technical and Scale Inefficiencies in Data Envelopment Analysis," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 30(9), pages 1078-1092, September.
    34. Cordero, José Manuel & Salinas-Jiménez, Javier & Salinas-Jiménez, M Mar, 2017. "Exploring factors affecting the level of happiness across countries: A conditional robust nonparametric frontier analysis," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 256(2), pages 663-672.
    35. O'Connor, Kelsey J. & Graham, Carol, 2019. "Longer, more optimistic, lives: Historic optimism and life expectancy in the United States," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 168(C), pages 374-392.
    36. Esteban Lafuente & László Szerb & Zoltan J. Acs, 2016. "Country level efficiency and national systems of entrepreneurship: a data envelopment analysis approach," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 41(6), pages 1260-1283, December.
    37. Eugenia Nissi & Annalina Sarra, 2018. "A Measure of Well-Being Across the Italian Urban Areas: An Integrated DEA-Entropy Approach," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 136(3), pages 1183-1209, April.
    38. Mariano, Enzo Barberio & Sobreiro, Vinicius Amorim & Rebelatto, Daisy Aparecida do Nascimento, 2015. "Human development and data envelopment analysis: A structured literature review," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 33-49.
    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. John F. Helliwell, 2022. "Reflections on Measuring and Improving Productivity When Subjective Well-being Is the Objective," International Productivity Monitor, Centre for the Study of Living Standards, vol. 43, pages 81-85, Fall.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Jose Manuel Cordero & Cristina Polo & Javier Salinas-Jiménez, 2021. "Subjective Well-Being and Heterogeneous Contexts: A Cross-National Study Using Semi-Nonparametric Frontier Methods," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 22(2), pages 867-886, February.
    2. Francesco Sarracino & Kelsey J. O’Connor, 2023. "Neo-humanism and COVID-19: Opportunities for a socially and environmentally sustainable world," Applied Research in Quality of Life, Springer;International Society for Quality-of-Life Studies, vol. 18(1), pages 9-41, February.
    3. Carol Graham, 2005. "The Economics of Happiness," World Economics, World Economics, 1 Ivory Square, Plantation Wharf, London, United Kingdom, SW11 3UE, vol. 6(3), pages 41-55, July.
    4. Annalina Sarra & Eugenia Nissi, 2020. "A Spatial Composite Indicator for Human and Ecosystem Well-Being in the Italian Urban Areas," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 148(2), pages 353-377, April.
    5. Mariano, Enzo Barberio & Sobreiro, Vinicius Amorim & Rebelatto, Daisy Aparecida do Nascimento, 2015. "Human development and data envelopment analysis: A structured literature review," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 33-49.
    6. Badunenko, Oleg & Cordero, Jose M. & Kumbhakar, Subal C., 2021. "Are you slacking? Where do you and your country stand in the happiness pursuit?," MPRA Paper 108316, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. José Sobreiro Filho & Enzo Barberio Mariano & Vinicius Amorim Sobreiro & Charbel José Chiappetta Jabbour, 2016. "Beyond the Agrarian Reform Policies in Brazil: An Empirical Study of Brazilian States from 1995 Through 2011," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 129(3), pages 1093-1114, December.
    8. Jesús Peiró-Palomino & Andrés J. Picazo-Tadeo, 2018. "Assessing well-being in European regions. Does government quality matter?," Working Papers 2018/06, Economics Department, Universitat Jaume I, Castellón (Spain).
    9. Rosalia Castellano & Gabriella Bernardo & Gennaro Punzo, 2023. "Well-being in OECD countries: an assessment of technical and social efficiency using data envelopment analysis," International Review of Economics, Springer;Happiness Economics and Interpersonal Relations (HEIRS), vol. 70(2), pages 141-176, June.
    10. Filip Fidanoski & Kiril Simeonovski & Violeta Cvetkoska, 2021. "Energy Efficiency in OECD Countries: A DEA Approach," Energies, MDPI, vol. 14(4), pages 1-21, February.
    11. Daraio, Cinzia & Kerstens, Kristiaan & Nepomuceno, Thyago & Sickles, Robin C., 2019. "Empirical Surveys of Frontier Applications: A Meta-Review," Working Papers 19-005, Rice University, Department of Economics.
    12. Jesús Peiró-Palomino & Andrés J. Picazo-Tadeo, 2018. "OECD: One or Many? Ranking Countries with a Composite Well-Being Indicator," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 139(3), pages 847-869, October.
    13. Shih-Heng Yu, 2019. "Benchmarking and Performance Evaluation Towards the Sustainable Development of Regions in Taiwan: A Minimum Distance-Based Measure with Undesirable Outputs in Additive DEA," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 144(3), pages 1323-1348, August.
    14. Thu Trang Tran Nguyen & Hai Ha Le & Thi Minh Hop Ho & Thomas Dogot & Philippe Burny & Thi Nga Bui & Philippe Lebailly, 2020. "Efficiency Analysis of the Progress of Orange Farms in Tuyen Quang Province, Vietnam towards Sustainable Development," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 12(8), pages 1-15, April.
    15. Kaffash, Sepideh & Azizi, Roza & Huang, Ying & Zhu, Joe, 2020. "A survey of data envelopment analysis applications in the insurance industry 1993–2018," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 284(3), pages 801-813.
    16. Atilano Pena-López & Paolo Rungo & Beatriz López-Bermúdez, 2021. "The "Efficiency" Effect of Conceptual Referents on the Generation of Happiness: A Cross-National Analysis," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 22(6), pages 2457-2483, August.
    17. Vincenzo Patrizii & Anna Pettini & Giuliano Resce, 2017. "The Cost of Well-Being," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 133(3), pages 985-1010, September.
    18. Santos, Sérgio P. & São José, José M.S., 2018. "Measuring and decomposing the gender pay gap: A new frontier approachAuthor-Name: Amado, Carla A.F," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 271(1), pages 357-373.
    19. Victoria Wojcik & Harald Dyckhoff & Marcel Clermont, 2019. "Is data envelopment analysis a suitable tool for performance measurement and benchmarking in non-production contexts?," Business Research, Springer;German Academic Association for Business Research, vol. 12(2), pages 559-595, December.
    20. Maria Teresa Balaguer‐Coll & Isabel Narbón‐Perpiñá & Jesús Peiró‐Palomino & Emili Tortosa‐Ausina, 2022. "Quality of government and economic growth at the municipal level: Evidence from Spain," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 62(1), pages 96-124, January.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    subjective well-being; World Happiness Report; efficiency; Data Envelopment Analysis;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • E23 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Production
    • D60 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - General
    • O47 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Empirical Studies of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    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:zbw:glodps:1061. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    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 bibliographic 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.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/glabode.html .

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

    IDEAS is a RePEc service. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.