Sometimes your best just ain't good enough : the worldwide evidence on well-being efficiency / Milena Nikolova (IZA and Brookings), Olga Popova (Leibniz Institute for East and Southeast European Studies (IOS), CERGE-EI and Ural Federal University) ; IZA Institute of Labor Economics
VerfasserNikolova, Milena ; Popova, Olga
KörperschaftForschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit
ErschienenBonn, Germany : IZA Institute of Labor Economics, May 2017
Elektronische Ressource
Umfang1 Online-Ressource (43 Seiten) : Diagramme
SerieDiscussion paper ; no. 10774
 Das Dokument ist öffentlich zugänglich im Rahmen des deutschen Urheberrechts.
Sometimes your best just ain't good enough [1.17 mb]
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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 well-being efficiency gains are possible worldwide. We find that unemployment and involuntary part-time employment are associated with lower 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 wellbeing 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 the issue of whether higher well-being levels are possible with current resources and raises policy-relevant questions about the appropriate instruments to improve well-being efficiency.