Too Educated to be Happy? An Investigation into the Relationship between Education and Subjective Well-being

Striessnig, Erich (2015) Too Educated to be Happy? An Investigation into the Relationship between Education and Subjective Well-being. International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), Laxenburg, Austria.


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While education has played a strong role in the ancient debate on the necessary preconditions for the good life, the contemporary literature on subjective well-being has not paid much attention to the possibility of education having an independent effect on happiness. Typically, education is mentioned only as having indirect effects, e.g., through its effect on income and wealth, employment status, health and mortality, marriage success, or as a proxy for socioconomic status. Also, the view that education - like income - mainly raises aspirations and therefore leads to lower levels of happiness is widespread in the literature, mostly without empirical evidence. Using data from the last five waves of the World Value Survey, the goal of this paper is to comprehensively study the empirical evidence by using logistic regression techniques to shed more light on the neglected role of education in happiness differentials. The results suggest that the relationship beteen education and happiness is distinct from the relationship between income and happiness. While there is evidence that higher income does not go hand in hand with higher happiness after a certain point, there is no evidence of a similar levelling off in the relationship between education and happiness. (author's abstract)

Item Type: Other
Additional Information: Funding for this work was made possible by an Advanced Grant of the European Research Council "Forecasting Societies' Adaptive Capacities to Climate Change": grant agreement ERC-2008-AdG 230195-FutureSoc and the "Wittgenstein Award" of the Austrian Science Fund (FWF): Z171-G11.
Divisions: Departments > Sozioökonomie > Sozialpolitik > Demographie
Version of the Document: Published
Variance from Published Version: None
Depositing User: Elena Simukovic
Date Deposited: 01 Dec 2015 16:27
Last Modified: 09 Sep 2020 06:12
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