Journal of Happiness Studies

, Volume 16, Issue 1, pp 67–76 | Cite as

Does Happiness Converge?

  • Nicholas ApergisEmail author
  • Yannis Georgellis
Research Paper


Using the Phillips and Sul (Econometrica 75:1771–1855, 2007) club convergence and clustering procedure, we examine happiness convergence dynamics across Europe. Although we reject the hypothesis of full convergence, we find evidence of distinct happiness convergence clubs. Against the background of a weak link between income and happiness in the existing literature, we advocate that happiness convergence is a legitimate policy goal on its own right as well as a useful barometer of changes in the political landscape, societal values, and citizens’ sentiments about developments in the European Union.


Panel convergence Happiness Life satisfaction European Union 

JEL Classification

E6 C23 



We thank Donggyu Sul for making the Gauss code available to us. A sample code can be downloaded from Donggyu Sul’s homepage: The usual disclaimer applies. We also thank the precious comments provided by two reviewers of this journal which enhanced the quality of this paper.


  1. Alesina, A., Di Tella, R., & MacCulloch, R. (2004). Inequality and happiness: Are Europeans and Americans different? Journal of Public Economics, 88, 2009–2042.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Andrews, D. W. K. (1991). Heteroskedasticity and autocorrelation consistent covariance matrix estimation. Econometrica, 59, 817–858.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bjørnskov, C., Gupta, N. D., & Pedersen, P. (2008). Analysing trends in subjective well-being in 15 European countries, 1973–2002. Journal of Happiness Studies, 9, 317–330.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Blanchflower, D., & Oswald, A. (2004). Well-being over time in Britain and the USA. Journal of Public Economics, 88, 1359–1387.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Caporale, G. M., Georgellis, Y., Tsitsianis, N., & Yin, Y. P. (2009). Income and happiness across Europe: Do reference values matter? Journal of Economic Psychology, 30, 42–51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Di Tella, R., & MacCulloch, R. (2008). Gross national happiness as an answer to the Easterlin Paradox? Journal of Development Economics, 86, 22–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Di Tella, R., MacCulloch, R., & Oswald, A. (2001). Preferences over inflation and unemployment: Evidence from surveys of happiness. American Economic Review, 91, 335–341.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Easterlin, R. A. (2005). A puzzle for adaptive theory. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, 56, 513–521.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Frey, B., & Stutzer, A. (2000). Happiness, economy and institutions. Economic Journal, 110, 918–938.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Layard, R. (2006). Happiness and public policy: A challenge to the profession. Economic Journal, 116, C24–C33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Oswald, A. (1997). Happiness and economic performance. Economic Journal, 107, 1815–1831.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Phillips, P. C. B., & Sul, D. (2007). Transition modelling and econometric convergence tests. Econometrica, 75, 1771–1855.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Stevenson, B., & Wolfers, J. (2009). The paradox of declining female happiness. American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, 1(2), 190–225.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Banking and Financial ManagementUniversity of PiraeusPiraeusGreece
  2. 2.CRESS-Center for Research in Employment, Skills and Society, Kingston Business SchoolKingston University LondonKingston-upon-ThamesUK

Personalised recommendations