Social Indicators Research

, Volume 108, Issue 1, pp 185–196

Does Education Affect Happiness? Evidence for Spain


DOI: 10.1007/s11205-011-9874-x

Cite this article as:
Cuñado, J. & de Gracia, F.P. Soc Indic Res (2012) 108: 185. doi:10.1007/s11205-011-9874-x


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 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Facultad de Ciencias EconómicasUniversidad de NavarraPamplonaSpain

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