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Assessing the level of happiness across countries: A robust frontier approach

Cordero, Jose M. and Salinas-Jiménez, Javier and Salinas-Jiménez, Mª Mar (2014): Assessing the level of happiness across countries: A robust frontier approach.

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Abstract

In this paper we propose an innovative approach based on life satisfaction to estimate efficiency measures for individuals considering how they convert their resources into higher levels of happiness. We use an extension of the conditional nonparametric robust approach which allows us to consider a mixed set of individual and institutional variables that can affect the levels of life satisfaction. Our empirical analysis includes data about 31,854 individuals from 26 OECD countries participating in the last wave of the World Values Survey. Results obtained indicate that the most efficient individuals in achieving happiness tend to live in northern and central European countries whereas the less efficient individuals are found, in average, in Asian transitional economies. In addition, it is also found that most of the traditional determinants of wellbeing (e.g. age, marital status, religion or unemployment) also have a significant impact on efficiency measures.

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