Social Indicators Research

, Volume 108, Issue 1, pp 185-196

First online:

Does Education Affect Happiness? Evidence for Spain

  • Juncal CuñadoAffiliated withFacultad de Ciencias Económicas, Universidad de Navarra
  • , Fernando Pérez de GraciaAffiliated withFacultad de Ciencias Económicas, Universidad de Navarra Email author 

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In this paper we study the impact of education on happiness in Spain using individual-level data from the European Social Survey, by means of estimating Ordinal Logit Models. We find both direct and indirect effects of education on happiness. First, we find an indirect effect of education on happiness through income and labour status. That is, we find that people with a higher education level have higher income levels and a higher probability of being employed, and thus, report higher levels of happiness. Second, and after controlling by income, labour status and other socio-economic variables, we find that education has a positive (and direct) impact on happiness. We interpret this result as evidence of a “self-confidence” or “self-estimation” effect from acquiring knowledge. Finally, we find that the direct impact of education on happiness does not depend of the level of education (primary, secondary or tertiary).


Education Happiness Self-confidence Self-estimation European social survey