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
Date Written: June 19, 2008
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: Suggested Citation