An Empirical Study of Happiness in Italy

The B. E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, Forthcoming

Posted: 19 Jan 2009 Last revised: 16 Feb 2009

See all articles by Michela Ponzo

Michela Ponzo

Università degli Studi della Calabria - Department of Economics and Statistics

Vincenzo Scoppa

Università degli Studi della Calabria - Department of Economics and Statistics

Date Written: June 19, 2008

Abstract

This study analyzes the determinants of individual subjective well-being (happiness) in Italy by estimating microeconometric happiness equations in order to examine the effects of socio-demographic characteristics and economic conditions on subjective evaluations of happiness. Consistent with the findings in other advanced countries we find that income and wealth increase happiness and that unemployment is extremely bad for subjective well-being. In addition, we obtain some novel and interesting results for Italy including the following: income obtained by public transfers has a limited impact on subjective well-being; education increases happiness, even when controlling for income; Southern residents and individuals living in large cities are less happy; and social capital makes people happier. Finally, individuals care about relative income, in the sense that their happiness is negatively influenced by the income of others in their group of reference. Our results show that several non-economic variables are extremely important for subjective well-being.

Keywords: Happiness, Subjective Well-Being, Unemployment, Relative Income, Italy

JEL Classification: A13, D60, I31

Suggested Citation

Ponzo, Michela and Scoppa, Vincenzo, An Empirical Study of Happiness in Italy (June 19, 2008). The B. E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1327786

Michela Ponzo

Università degli Studi della Calabria - Department of Economics and Statistics ( email )

Via P. Bucci
Arcavacata di Rende (CS), 87036
Italy

Vincenzo Scoppa (Contact Author)

Università degli Studi della Calabria - Department of Economics and Statistics ( email )

via Ponte Bucci
Arcavacata di Rende, Cosenza 87036
Italy

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