Journal of Happiness Studies

, Volume 15, Issue 1, pp 85–118 | Cite as

Happiness and Leisure Across Countries: Evidence from International Survey Data

Research Paper

Abstract

We study the statistical link between leisure and happiness. Using survey data from 33 countries in 2007, we find that (1) certain leisure activities, leisure’s role in self-fulfillment and social interaction, and leisure’s relation to work and other spheres of life are significantly linked to individual happiness; (2) the effect of leisure quantity is not as important as other aspects of leisure; and (3) some leisure activities can be negatively associated with happiness. Consistent with findings in previous studies, family income and individual demographic variables such as age and health condition are significantly associated with happiness. National unemployment and political stability also have robustly significant effects on happiness.

Keywords

Happiness Leisure Multilevel model 

References

  1. Austin, P. C., Tu, J. V., & Alter, D. A. (2003). Comparing hierarchical modeling with traditional logistics regression analysis among patients hospitalized with acute myocardial infarction: Should we be analyzing cardiovascular outcomes data differently?. American Heart Journal, 145, 27–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Blanchflower, D. G. & Oswald, A. J. (2004). Well-being over time in Britain and the USA. Journal of Public Economics, 88, 1359–1387.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Blanchflower, D. G. & Oswald, A. J. (2011). International happiness. NBER working paper no. 16668.Google Scholar
  4. Bradburn, N. M. (1969). The structure of psychological well-being. Chicago: Alpine.Google Scholar
  5. Chick, G. (1998). Leisure and culture: Issues for an anthropology of leisure. Leisure Sciences, 20, 111–133.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Clark, A. E. & Oswald, A. J. (1994). Unhappiness and unemployment. Economic Journal, 104, 648–659.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Clark, A. E. & Oswald, A. J. (1996). Satisfaction and comparison income. Journal of Public Economics, 61, 359–381.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Clark, A. E. & Senik, C. (2010). Who compares to whom? The anatomy of income comparisons in Europe. Economic Journal, 120, 573–594.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1997). Finding flow: The psychology of engagement with everyday life. New York, NY: BasicBooks.Google Scholar
  10. Diener, E., Diener, M. & Diener, C. (1995). Factors predicting the subjective well-being of nations. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 69, 851–864.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Diener, E. & Oishi, S. (2000). Money and happiness: Income and subjective well-being across nations. In E. Diener & E. M. Suh (Eds.), Subjective well-being across cultures (pp. 185–218). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  12. Easterlin, R. A. (1974). Does economic growth improve the human lot?. In P. A. David & M. W. Reder (Eds.), Nations and households in economic growth: Essays in honor of Moses Abramovitz (pp. 89–125). New York, NY: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  13. Easterlin, R. A. (2001). Income and happiness: Towards a unified theory. Economic Journal, 111, 465–484.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Easterlin, R. A. (2003). Explaining happiness. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 100, 11176–11183.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Frey, B. S. (2008). Happiness: A revolution in economics. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Frey, B. S. & Stutzer, A. (2000). Happiness, economy and institutions. Economic Journal, 110, 918–938.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Frey, B. S. & Stutzer, A. (2002). What can economists learn from happiness research?. Journal of Economic Literature, 40, 401–435.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Frey, B. S. & Stutzer, A. (2005). Happiness research: State and prospects. Review of Social Economy, 63, 207–228.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hagerty, M. R. (2000). Social comparisons of income in one’s community: Evidence from national surveys of income and happiness. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 78, 746–771.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Headey, B. & Wooden, M. P. (2004). The effects of wealth and income on subjective well-being and ill-being. Economic Record, 80, 24–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Helliwell, J. F. & Huang, H. (2008). How’s your government? International evidence linking good government and well-being. British Journal of Political Science, 38, 595–619.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hill, H. C., Rowan, B. & Ball, D. L. (2005). Effect of teachers’ mathematical knowledge for teaching on student achievement. American Educational Research Journal, 42, 371–406.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Hirsch, F. (1976). The social limits to growth. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  24. Hox, J. J. & Kreft, I. G. G. (1994). Multilevel analysis methods. Sociological Methods & Research, 22, 283–299.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Inglehart, R. (1990). Culture shift in advanced industrial society. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  26. Iwasaki, Y. (2007). Leisure and quality of life in an international and multicultural context: What are major pathways linking leisure to quality of life?. Social Indicators Research, 82, 233–264.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. James, H. S. Jr. (2011). Is the just man a happy man? An empirical study of the relationship between ethics and subjective well-being. Kyklos, 64, 193–212.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Jones, K. & Duncan, C. (1996). People and places: The multilevel model as a general framework for the quantitative analysis of geographical data. In P. Longley & M. Batty (Eds.), Spatial analysis: Modelling in a GIS environment (pp. 79–104). Cambridge: GeoInformation International.Google Scholar
  29. Jones, K., Johnston, R. J. & Pattie, C. J. (1992). People, places and regions: Exploring the use of multi-level modeling in the analysis of electoral data. British Journal of Political Science, 22, 343–380.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Kahneman, D., Krueger, A. B., Schkade, D., Schwarz, N. & Stone, A. A. (2006). Would you be happier if you were richer? A focusing illusion. Science, 312, 1908–1910.Google Scholar
  31. Kreft, I. G. G., de Leew, J. & Aiken, L. S. (1995). The effects of different forms of centering in hierarchical linear models. Multivariate Behavioral Research, 30, 1–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Langford, I. H., Bentham, G. & McDonald, A. (1998). Multilevel modeling of geographically aggregated health data: A case study on malignant melanoma mortality and UV exposure in the European community. Statistics in Medicine, 17, 41–58.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Larsen, K. & Merlo, J. (2005). Appropriate assessment of neighborhood effects on individual health: Integrating random and fixed effects in multilevel logistic regression. American Journal of Epidemiology, 161, 81–88.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Leyland, A. H. & Goldstein, H. (2001). Multilevel modeling of health statistics. Chichester, UK: Wiley.Google Scholar
  35. Luttmer, E. (2005). Neighbors as negatives: Relative earnings and well-being. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 120, 963–1002.Google Scholar
  36. Lyubomirsky, S. & Lepper, H. (1999). A measure of subjective happiness: Preliminary reliability and construct validation. Social Indicators Research, 46, 137–155.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Magnus, P., Gjessing, H. K., Skrondal, A. & Skjarven, R. (2001). Paternal contribution to birth weight. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 55, 873–887.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Paterson, L. (1991). Socio-economic status and educational attainment: A multidimensional and multilevel study. Evaluation and Research in Education, 5, 97–121.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Peterson, C., Park, N. & Seligman, M. (2005). Orientations to happiness and life satisfaction: The full life versus the empty life. Journal of Happiness Studies, 6, 25–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Schyns, P. (2002). Wealth of nations, individual income and life satisfaction in 42 countries: A multilevel approach. Social Indicators Research, 60, 5–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Stebbins, R. (2011). The idea of leisure: First principles. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction.Google Scholar
  42. Stone, A., Schwartz, J., Broderick, J. & Deaton, A. (2010). A snapshot of the age distribution of psychological well-being in the United States. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 107, 9985–9990.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Varian, R. H. (2005). Intermediate microeconomics: A modern approach (7th edn.). New York, NY: W.W. Norton and Company.Google Scholar
  44. Veenhoven, R. (1996). Development in satisfaction research. Social Indicators Research, 37, 101–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EconomicsMarquette UniversityMilwaukeeUSA
  2. 2.Department of EconomicsUniversity of San FranciscoSan FranciscoUSA

Personalised recommendations