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IOS Regensburg 12.–13. April 2018

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2. Mai 2017

The Bulgarian happiness (in)efficiency

Ein Vortrag von Olga Popova (IOS Regensburg) im Rahmen der Seminarreihe des AB Ökonomie am IOS.
Datum: 2.5.2017
Zeit: 13.30 Uhr
Ort: WiOS, Landshuter Str. 4 (Raum 109)

Despite the burgeoning happiness economics literature, scholars have largely ignored  explorations of how individuals or countries translate given resources into well-being.  Using a balanced panel on 91 countries from Gallup Analytics between 2009-2014 and  borrowing insights from production theory, we investigate whether nations in our  sample efficiently convert their current resources (i.e. income, education and health)  into subjective well-being. Our results imply that happiness efficiency gains are  possible worldwide. We find that unemployment and involuntary part-time employment  reduce efficiency, while good institutions as proxied by the rule of law, as well as social  support and freedom perceptions improve it. Within-country investigations for Bulgaria,  an upper-middle-income country that often lurks at the bottom of the international  happiness rankings, demonstrate that efficiency is lower among the unemployed,  divorced/separated, widowed, the old, large households and those with children, while  living in a city, freedom, generosity and social support improve efficiency. This paper  provides the first evidence from an international panel concerning whether higher well-being  levels are possible with current resources and raises policy-relevant questions  about the appropriate instruments to improve happiness efficiency.