Happiness Matters: Productivity Gains from Subjective Well-Being

  • Charles Henri DiMaria
  • Chiara Peroni
  • Francesco SarracinoEmail author
Research Paper


This article studies the link between subjective well-being and productivity at the aggregate level, using a matched dataset from surveys and official statistics. Well-being and productivity are measured, respectively, by life satisfaction and total factor productivity. The analysis, which applies non-parametric frontier techniques in a production framework, finds that life satisfaction generates significant productivity gains in a sample of 20 European countries. These results confirm the evidence of a positive association between the variables of interest found at the individual and firm level, and support the view that promoting subjective well-being is not only desirable per se, but it is conducive to higher productivity and improved countries’ economic performances.


Productivity Subjective well-being Total factor productivity Efficiency Life satisfaction Economic growth DEA Combined data 

JEL Classification

E23 I31 O47 



The authors would like to thank Jesùs T. Pastor, Andrew J. Oswald, Andrew Clark, Stefano Bartolini, Conchita D’Ambrosio, Kelsey O’Connor, Elena Grinza, Pedro da Lima, and participants in the VIII North American Productivity Workshop, the 2014 Asia-Pacific Productivity Conference, the 2nd Household Finance and Consumption workshop held at the Central Bank of Luxembourg, and the 2014 Conference of the International Society for Quality of Life Studies for their comments. Views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not reflect those of STATEC and funding partners. The author(s) gratefully acknowledge the support of the Observatoire de la Compétitivité, Ministére de l’Economie, DG Compétitivité, Luxembourg, and STATEC, the National Statistical Office of Luxembourg.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charles Henri DiMaria
    • 1
    • 2
  • Chiara Peroni
    • 1
    • 3
  • Francesco Sarracino
    • 1
    • 4
    Email author
  1. 1.STATEC ResearchLuxembourgLuxembourg
  2. 2.Laboratoire d’Economie d’Orléans (LEO)ParisFrance
  3. 3.Institut national de la statistique et des études économiques du Grand-Duché du Luxembourg (STATEC)LuxembourgLuxembourg
  4. 4.Laboratory for Comparative Social Research (LCSR)National Research University Higher School of EconomicsMoscowRussia

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