Emitting Happiness? Using Model-Based Cluster Analysis to Group Countries by Wealth, Development, Carbon Emissions, and Happiness
20 Pages Posted: 1 Apr 2014 Last revised: 14 Apr 2014
Date Written: March 31, 2014
This exploratory study uses model-based cluster analysis to group countries based on statistical similarities in terms of income, development, carbon emissions, and self-reported happiness. Several characteristics of the resulting clusters are noted. The least developed cluster, generating just 5% of the carbon emissions and earning on average 14% the income of the most developed cluster, experienced an average of 89% of the happiness of that of residents of the most developed cluster. The least developed cluster would have had an even higher level of average happiness had countries with unusually negative recent experiences such as Egypt and Iraq been excluded. Between the two clusters with the highest self-reported happiness, one emits just 57% the carbon dioxide emissions of the other. Average happiness is lowest in the two clusters with medium levels of income and development. These observations, among others, are very salient to deciding how to further happiness at the individual, firm, and societal levels while reducing emissions and other negative environmental impacts. The results should provoke further work in measuring, understanding, and fostering conditions conducive to well-being.
Keywords: sustainability, happiness, indicators, HDI, GNI, cluster analysis, sustainable development, model-based
JEL Classification: A12, C11, C29, D62, H89, I31, J39, M14, M21, M59, Q29
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