Family Economic Well-Being, and (Class) Relative Wealth: An Empirical Analysis of Life Satisfaction of Secondary School Students in Three Italian Cities
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The aim of the study is to shed light on an under-investigated topic—the determinants of life satisfaction of the young—by means of an econometric analysis which focuses specifically on the relationship between household wealth and life satisfaction of secondary school students living in three Italian cities: Rome, Milan and Genoa. We find that family home ownership, mortgages and (class) relative wealth significantly affect the life satisfaction of students. Other significant controls are geographical residence (those living in Milan are significantly less satisfied with life), the mother’s occupation, and trust in family and friendships. The characteristics of our household wealth variables make it hard to conceive any inverse causality (and endogeneity highly unlikely), thus suggesting a direct causality nexus for these factors. We explain why our research provides important insights that should be taken into account when developing policies to promote the subjective well-being of the young.
KeywordsLife satisfaction Secondary school Relative wealth
We wish to thank Gianpaolo Barbetta, Stefano Caiazza, Stefano Cima, Decio Coviello, Jerry Dwyer, Iftekhar Hasan, Tullio Jappelli, James Lothian, Chiara Monticone, Francesco Nucci, Mario Padula, Paul Wachtel and all participants at the XIXth Tor Vergata Financial Conference for useful comments and suggestions. Managerial support from Marco Bracaglia and the Osservatorio sul Credito, institutional support from the Ministry of Education and financial support from Unicredit, Fondazione Cariplo and Fondazione Carige are gratefully acknowledged.
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