Journal of Happiness Studies

, Volume 2, Issue 3, pp 269–288 | Cite as

Happiness and Domain Satisfaction in Taiwan

  • Meng-Wen TsouEmail author
  • Jin-Tan Liu


Happiness and life satisfaction are two empirically correlated but nobreak conceptually different measures of well-being. As an emotional state, happiness is sensitive to sudden changes in mood, whilst satisfaction is regarded as a cognitive or judgmental state. Using estimations from two empirical models, the aim of this study is to examine the determinants of happiness and satisfaction amongst nobreak Taiwanese people in a number of life domains. First of all, we attempt to investigate the individual characteristics of happiness by using an ordered probit model. Secondly, using ordinary least squares, we include an individual's value or attitude variables as nobreak determinants of the level of satisfaction with different life domains.

Our results suggest that higher income is associated with a higher level of subjective well-being. Measures of comparison income are significantly negatively correlated with the reported level of happiness and job satisfaction, which supports the hypothesis that well-being depends on income relative to a reference group. Consistent with the results from other countries, married people report a higher degree of happiness and satisfaction, whilst the past experience of unemployment significantly reduces subjective well-being. There is little gender difference in happiness or satisfaction with different domains. Furthermore, individual's personal values have strong effects on both marital satisfaction and job satisfaction. The findings of this paper confirm that the effects of personal characteristics are fundamentally different in terms of happiness and satisfaction with specific domains of life.

Happiness Domain satisfaction Marital satisfaction Job satisfaction Financial status Leisure time Comparison income 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Abbey, A. and F.M. Andrews: 1985, 'Modeling the psychological determinants of life quality', Social Indicators Research 16, pp. 1-34.Google Scholar
  2. Andrews, F.M. and S.B. Withey: 1976, Social Indicators of Well-Being (Plenum Press, New York).Google Scholar
  3. Argyle, M.: 1989, The Psychology of Happiness (Routledge, London).Google Scholar
  4. Blanchflower, D. and A. Oswald: 1992, 'Entrepreneurship, happiness and supernormal returns: Evidence from Britain and the USA', National Bureau Economic Research Working Paper No. 4228 (Cambridge, Massachusetts).Google Scholar
  5. Blanchflower, D. and A. Oswald: 2000, 'Well-being over time in Britain and the USA', National Bureau Economic ResearchWorking Paper No. 7487 (Cambridge, Massachusetts).Google Scholar
  6. Campbell, A.: 1981, The Sense ofWell-Being in America (McGraw-Hill, NewYork).Google Scholar
  7. Clark, A.E.: 1996, 'Job satisfaction in Britain', British Journal of Industrial Relations, 34, pp. 189-217.Google Scholar
  8. Clark, A.E.: 1997, 'Job Satisfaction and Gender: Why arewomen so happy atwork?', Labor Economics 4, pp. 341-372.Google Scholar
  9. Clark, A.E.: 1999, 'Are wages habit-forming? Evidence from micro data', Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization 39, pp. 179-200.Google Scholar
  10. Clark, A.E. and A.J. Oswald: 1994, 'Unhappiness and unemployment', Economic Journal 104, pp. 648-659.Google Scholar
  11. Clark, A.E. and A.J. Osward: 1996, 'Satisfaction and comparison income', Journal of Public Economics 61, pp. 359-381.Google Scholar
  12. Clark, A.E., A.J. Oswald and P. Warr: 1996, 'Is job satisfaction U-shaped in age?', Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology 69, pp. 57-81.Google Scholar
  13. Easterlin, R.A.: 1974, 'Does economic growth improve the human lot? Some empirical evidence', in P. David and M. Redar (eds), Nations and Households in Economic Growth (Academic Press, New York), pp. 89-125.Google Scholar
  14. Emmons, R.A. and E. Diener: 1985, 'Factors predicting satisfaction judgement: A comparative examination', Social Indicators Research 16, pp. 157-167.Google Scholar
  15. Greene, W.H.: 1993, Econometric Analysis (Macmillan, New York).Google Scholar
  16. Hartog J. and H. Oosterbeek: 1998, 'Health, wealth and happiness: Why pursue a higher education?', Economics of Education Review 17, pp. 245-256.Google Scholar
  17. Hamermesh, D.S.: 1977, 'Economic aspects of job satisfaction', in O.C. Ashenfelter and W.E. Oates (eds), Essays in Labor Market Analysis (Wiley, New York).Google Scholar
  18. Kousha M. and N. Mohseni: 1997, 'Predictors of life satisfaction among urban Iranian women: An exploratory analysis', Social Indicators Research 40, pp. 329-357.Google Scholar
  19. Kushman, J. and S. Lane: 1980, 'Amultivariate analysis of factors affecting perceived life satisfaction and psychological well-being among the elderly', Social Science Quarterly 61, pp. 264-277.Google Scholar
  20. Lerner, S.: 1997, 'Indicators of human well being: Fine-tuning vs. taking action?', Social Indicators Research 40, pp. 217-220.Google Scholar
  21. Levenson R. and J. Gottman: 1985, 'Physiological and affective predictors of change in relationship satisfaction', Personality and Social Psychology 49, pp. 89-94.Google Scholar
  22. Loscocco, K.A. and C.E. Bose: 1998, 'Gender and job satisfaction in urban China: The early post-Mao period', Social Science Quarterly 79, pp. 91-109.Google Scholar
  23. Lu, L.: 1995, 'The relationship between subjective well-being and psychosocial variables in Taiwan', Journal of Social Psychology 135, pp. 351-358.Google Scholar
  24. Michalos, A.C.: 1980, 'Satisfaction and happiness', Social Indicators Research 8, pp. 385-422.Google Scholar
  25. Ng, Y.K. and J. Wang: 1991, 'Relative income, aspiration, environmental quality, individual and political myopia: Why may the rat-race for material growth be welfarereducing?', Monash University Department of Economics Seminar Paper 7/91.Google Scholar
  26. Saunders, P.: 1996, 'Income, Health and Happiness', Australia Economic Review pp. 353-366.Google Scholar
  27. Tepperman, L. and J. Curtis: 1995, 'A life satisfaction scale for use with national adult samples from the USA, Canada and Mexico', Social Indicators Research 35, pp. 255-270.Google Scholar
  28. Theodossiou, I.: 1998, 'The effects of low-pay and unemployment on psychological well-being: a logistic regression approach', Journal of Health Economics 17, pp. 85-104.Google Scholar
  29. Travers, P. and S. Richardson: 1993, Living Decently: Material Well-Being in Australia (Oxford University Press, Melbourne).Google Scholar
  30. Vannoy, D.: 1982, 'Wife's employment and quality of marriage', Journal of Marriage and Family 54, pp. 387-398.Google Scholar
  31. Veenhoven, R.: 1996, 'Developments in satisfaction research', Social Indicators Research 37, pp. 1-46.Google Scholar
  32. Vermunt, R., E. Spaans and F. Zorge: 1989, 'Satisfaction, happiness and well-being of Dutch students', Social Indicators Research 21, pp. 1-33.Google Scholar
  33. Veroff, J., E. Douvan and R.A. Kulka: 1981, The Inner American (Basic Books, New York).Google Scholar
  34. Winkelmann L. and R. Winkelmann: 1998, 'Why are the unemployed so unhappy? Evidence from panel data', Economica 65, pp. 1-15.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of International TradeTamkang UniversityTaipei Hsien (251)Taiwan

Personalised recommendations