Social Indicators Research

, Volume 108, Issue 1, pp 185–196 | Cite as

Does Education Affect Happiness? Evidence for Spain

  • Juncal Cuñado
  • Fernando Pérez de GraciaEmail author


In this paper we study the impact of education on happiness in Spain using individual-level data from the European Social Survey, by means of estimating Ordinal Logit Models. We find both direct and indirect effects of education on happiness. First, we find an indirect effect of education on happiness through income and labour status. That is, we find that people with a higher education level have higher income levels and a higher probability of being employed, and thus, report higher levels of happiness. Second, and after controlling by income, labour status and other socio-economic variables, we find that education has a positive (and direct) impact on happiness. We interpret this result as evidence of a “self-confidence” or “self-estimation” effect from acquiring knowledge. Finally, we find that the direct impact of education on happiness does not depend of the level of education (primary, secondary or tertiary).


Education Happiness Self-confidence Self-estimation European social survey 



The authors gratefully acknowledge financial support provided by the Ministerio de Ciencia y Tecnología (ECO2008-02458-E) within the EUROCORES HumVIB programme of the European Science Foundation. We specially thank conference participants at the XIX Meeting of the Economics of Education Association (Zaragoza 2010) for insightful comments and suggestions. We thank the editor and one anonymous referee for useful comments and valuable suggestions on this paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Facultad de Ciencias EconómicasUniversidad de NavarraPamplonaSpain

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