Social Indicators Research

, Volume 88, Issue 3, pp 531–562 | Cite as

Life Satisfaction and Happiness in Turkey

  • Sibel SelimEmail author


This research aims to investigate life satisfaction and happiness in Turkey. It extends the previous researches on subjective well-being (SWB) for Turkey by considering both happiness and life satisfaction. The previous researches for Turkey are local studies, and their findings cannot be generalized to the population of Turkish society. Given these facts, the factors that shape individual happiness and life satisfaction amongst Turkish people are determined using a representative survey of sociocultural and political change, World Values Survey (WVS). Some results obtained in this study are similar to typical findings such as a negative age effect, positive influences of income and health status, and a negative effect of unemployment. Contrary to the expectations, middle education has a negative direct effect on life satisfaction among females, and the upper education level is insignificant in the life satisfaction model. By comparing the correlates of happiness and life satisfaction across different years, this research aims to provide insights for policy makers and professionals to improve the perceived lives of Turkish people.


Life satisfaction Happiness Ordered logit model Turkey 


  1. Abbott, P., & Sapsford, R. (2006). Life satisfaction in post-Soviet Russia and Ukraine. Journal of Happiness Studies, 7, 251–287.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Agresti, A. (1990). Categorical data analysis. New York: John Wiley.Google Scholar
  3. Ahn, N., Garcia, J. R., & Jimeno, J. F. (2004). The impact of unemployment on individual well-being in the EU. Europen Network of Economic Policy Research Institutes, Working paper, No: 29.Google Scholar
  4. Alesina, A., Di Tela, R., & MacCulloch, R. (2003). Inequality and happiness: Are Europeans and Americans different? NBER and CEPR Harvard Business School Princeton University, Working paper.Google Scholar
  5. Andrews, F. M., & Withey, S. B. (1976). Social indicators of well-being. New York: Plenum Press.Google Scholar
  6. Argyle, M. (1989). The psychology of happiness. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  7. Borooah, V. K. (2006). How much happiness is there in the world? A cross-country study. Applied Economics Letters, 13, 483–488.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bukenya, J. O., Gebremedhin, T. G., & Schaefer, P. V. (2003). Analysis of quality of life and rural development: evidence from West Virginia data. Growth and Change, 34(2), 202–218.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Camfield, L. (2003). Using subjective measures of well-being in developing countries. ESRC research group on well-being in developing countries. ESRC Economic & Social Research Council.Google Scholar
  10. Campbell, A. (1981). The sense of well-being in America. New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  11. Carbonell, A. F., & Frijters, P. (2002). How important is methodology for the determinants of happiness? Tinbergen Institute Discussion Paper, TI-024/3.Google Scholar
  12. Chen, C. (2001). Aging and life satisfaction. Social Indicators Research, 54, 57–79.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Christoph, B., & Noll, H. H. (2003). Subjective well-being in the European Community. Social Indicators Research, 64, 521–546.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Diener, E. (2000). Subjective well-being, the science of happiness and a proposal for a national index. The American Psychological Association, 55, 34–43.Google Scholar
  15. 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. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  16. Diener, E., & Suh, E. (1997). Subjective well-being: An integrate perspective. Annual Review of Gerontology and Geriatrics, 17. New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  17. Diener, E., Suh, E., & Oishi, S. (1997). Recent findings on subjective well-being. Indian Journal of Clinical Psychology, 24, 25–41.Google Scholar
  18. Diener, E., Suh, E. M., Lucas, R. E., & Smith, H. L. (1999). Subjective well-being: Three decades of progress. Psychological Bulletin, 125, 276–302.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Di Tella, R., MacCulooch, R. J., & Oswald, A. J. (2001). Preferences over inflation and unemployment: Evidence from surveys on happiness. American Economic Review, 91, 335–341.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Di Tella, R., MacCulloch, R. J., & Oswald, A. J. (2003). The macroeconomics of happiness. The Review of Economics and Statistics, 85(4), 809–827.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Easterlin, R. (1974). Does economic growth improve the human lot? Some empirical evidence. In P. A. David, & W. R. Melvin (Eds.), Nations and households in economic growth. Palo Alto: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  22. Easterlin, R. (2004). Life cycle happiness and its sources. ISQOLS draft.Google Scholar
  23. Eggers, A., Gaddy, C., & Graham, C. (2006). Well-being and unemployment in Russia in the 1990s: Can society’s suffering be individuals’ solace? The Journal of Socio-Economics, 35, 209–242.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Emmons, R. A., & Diener, E. (1985). Factors predicting satisfaction judgment: A comparative examination. Social Indicators Research, 16, 157–167.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions in Europe. (2004). Quality of life in Europe. Life satisfaction in an enlarged Europe, Dublin.Google Scholar
  26. European Values Study Group and World Values Survey Association. (2006). European and World Values Surveys four-wave integrated data file, 1981–2004, v.20060423.Google Scholar
  27. Frey, B. S., & Stutzer, A. (2002a). Happiness and economics. How the economy and institutions affect well-being. Princeton/Oxford: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  28. Frey, B. S., & Stutzer, A. (2002b). What can economists learn from happiness research? Journal of Economic Literature, 40(2), 402–435.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Fuentes, N., & Rojas, M. (2001). Economic theory and subjective well-being: Mexico. Social Indicators Research, 53, 289–314.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Galati, D., Manzano, M., & Sotgiu, I. (2006). The subjective components of happiness and their attainment: A cross-cultural comparison between Italy and Cuba. Social Science Information, 45, 601–630.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Gerdtham, U. G., & Johannesson, M. (1997). The relationship between happiness, health and socio-economic factors: results based on Swedish micro data. Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance, No. 207.Google Scholar
  32. Gitmez, A. S., & Morçöl, G. (1994). Socio-economic status and life satisfaction in Turkey. Social Indicators Research, 31, 77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Gruen, C., & Klasen, S. (2005). Has happiness improved well-being? An analysis based on income, inequality-adjusted income, non-income and subjective well-being measures, ERSA Working paper, No. 4.Google Scholar
  34. Haller, M., & Hadler, M. (2006). How social relations and structures can produce happiness and unhappiness: an international comparative analysis. Social Indicators Research, 75, 169–216.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Hartog, J., & Oosterbeek, H. (1998). Health, wealth and happiness: Why pursue a higher education? Economics of Education Review, 17, 245–256.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Hayo, B., & Seifert, W. (2003). Subjective economic well-being in Eastern Europe. Journal of Economic Psychology, 24, 329–348.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Headey, B., & Wooden, M. (2004). The effects of wealth and income on subjective well-being and ill-being. Melbourne Institute Working Paper, No. 3/04.Google Scholar
  38. Headey, B., Muffels, R., & Wooden, M. (2004). Money doesn’t buy happiness… or does it? A reconsideration based on the combined effects of wealth, income and consumption. Discussion Paper, IZA DP NO. 1218.Google Scholar
  39. Helliwell, J. F. (2002). How’s life? Combining individual and national variables to explain subjective well-being. National Bureau of Economic Research, Working Paper 9065.Google Scholar
  40. Inglehart, R., & Rabier, J. R. (1986). Aspirations adapt to situations—but why are the Belgians so much happier than the French? A cross-cultural analysis of the subjective quality of life. In F. M. Andrews (Ed.), Research on the quality of life (pp. 1–56). Michigan: The Survey Research Center/Institute for Social Research.Google Scholar
  41. Kahneman, D., & Krueger, A. B. (2006). Developments in the measurement of subjective well-being. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 20, 3–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Kalmijn, W., & Veenhoven, R. (2005). Measuring inequality of happiness in nations. Journal of Happiness Studies, 6, 357–396.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Kousha, M., & Mohseni, N. (1997). Predictors of life satisfaction among urban Iranian women: An exploratory analysis. Social Indicators Research, 40, 329–357.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Kousha, M., & Mohseni, N. (2000). Are Iranians happy? A comparative study between Iran and the United States. Social Indicators Research, 52, 259–289.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Lee, D., Park, S., Uhlemann, M., & Patsula P. (1999). What makes you happy? A comparison of self-reported criteria of happiness between two cultures. Social Indicators Research, 50, 351–362.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Lewis, C. A., & Cruise, S. M. (2006). Religion and happiness: Consensus, contradictions, comments and concerns. Mental Health, Religion & Culture, 9(3), 213–225.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Liao, T. F. (1994). Interpreting probability models, logit, probit, and other generalized linear models, series/Number 07-101. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  48. Long, J. S. (1997). Regression models for categorical and limited dependent variables. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  49. Marks, G., & Fleming, N. (1999). Influences and consequences of well-being among Australian young people: 1980–1995. Social Indicators Research, 46, 301–323.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. McBride, M. (2001). Relative-income effects on subjective well-being in cross-section. Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 45, 251–278.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. McConatha, J. T., Rieser-Danner, L., Harmer, K., Hayta, V., & Polat, T. S. (2004). Life satisfaction in three countries. Psychological Reports, 94(3), 795–806.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. McCullagh, P. (1980). Regression models for ordinal data (with discussion). Journal of Royal Statistical Society, 42, 109–142.Google Scholar
  53. McKelvey, R. D., & Zavoina, W. (1975). A statistical model for the analysis of ordinal level dependent variables. Journal of Mathematical Sociology, 4, 103–120.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Myers, D. G. (2000). The funds, friends, and faith of happy people. American Psychologist, 55, 56–67.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Myers, D. G., & Diener, E. (1995). Who is happy? Psychological Science, 6, 10–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Namazie, C., & Sanfey, P. (2001). Happiness in transition: The case of Kyrgyzstan. Review of Development Economics, 5(3), 392–405.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Peasgood, T. (2005). Modelling subjective well-being. BHPS Conference, Essex.Google Scholar
  58. Peiró, A. (2002). Happiness, satisfaction and socioeconomic conditions: Some international evidence. WP-EC Working Paper-21.Google Scholar
  59. Praag, B. M. S., & Carbonell, A. F. (2006). An almost integration-free approach to ordered response models. Tinbergen Institute Discussion Paper, TI-047/3.Google Scholar
  60. Royo, M. G., & Velazco, J. (2006). Exploring the relationship between happiness, objective and subjective well-being: Evidence from rural Thailand. WeD- Well-being in Developing Countries ESRC Research Group, Working paper 16.Google Scholar
  61. Schwarze, J., & Winkelmann, R. (2005). What can happiness research tell us about altruism? Evidence from the German socio-economic panel. Discussion Paper, 475.Google Scholar
  62. Schyns, P. (1998). Cross national differences in happiness: Economic and cultural factors explored. Social Indicators Research, 43, 3–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Schyns, P. (2003). Income and life satisfaction. A cross-national and longitudinal study. Delft: Eburon.Google Scholar
  64. Seghieri, C., Desantis, G., & Tanturri, M. L. (2006). The richer, the happier? An empirical investigation in selected European countries. Social Indicators Research, 79, 455–476.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Tsou, M. W., & Liu, J. T. (2001). Happiness and domain satisfaction in Taiwan. Journal of Happiness Studies, 2, 269–288.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Tucker, K. L., Ozer, D. J., Lyubomirsky, S., & Boehm, J. K. (2006). Testing for measurement invariance in the satisfaction with life scale: A comparison of Russians and North Americans. Social Indicators Research, 78(2), 341–360.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Veenhoven, R. (2004). Subjective measures of well-being. Discussion Paper, No: 07.Google Scholar
  68. Veenhoven, R. (1996a). Developments in satisfaction research. Social Indicators Research, 37, 1–46.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Veenhoven, R. (1996b). The study of life satisfaction. In W. E. Saris, R. Veenhoven, A. C. Scherpenzeel, & B. Bunting (Eds.), A comparative study of satisfaction with life in Europe (pp. 11–48). Eötvös University Press.Google Scholar
  70. Veenhoven, R. (1996c). Average level of satisfaction in 10 European countries: Explanation of differences. In W. E. Saris, R. Veenhoven, A. C. Scherpenzeel, & B. Bunting (Eds.), A comparative study of satisfaction with life in Europe (pp. 243–253). Eötvös University Press.Google Scholar
  71. Veenhoven, R., & Kalmijn, W. (2005). Inequality-adjusted happiness in nations. Journal of Happiness Studies, 6, 421–455.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Vermunt, R., Spaans, E., & Zorge, F. (1989). Satisfaction, happiness and well-being of Dutch students. Social Indicators Research, 21, 1–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Winkelmann, R. (2005). Subjective well-being and the family: Results from an ordered probit model with multiple random effects. Empirical Economics, 30, 749–761.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Business AdministrationCelal Bayar UniversityManisaTurkey

Personalised recommendations