Social Indicators Research

, Volume 60, Issue 1–3, pp 5–40 | Cite as

Wealth Of Nations, Individual Income andLife Satisfaction in 42 Countries:A Multilevel Approach

  • Peggy Schyns


In this study, individual and contextualdeterminants of life satisfaction in 42countries were examined. The question wasaddressed whether income at the individuallevel and wealth at the national level affectlife satisfaction of individuals. In addition,the hypothesis was tested whether therelationship between income and lifesatisfaction is stronger in poor countries thanin more prosperous ones. Multilevel modelingallows differentiating between main andinteraction effects of group and individuallevel variables on the dependent variable. Itwas used to explore a possible multilevelstructure in the data, in which individuals areviewed as micro observations and countries asmacro observations. The results showed that, inaddition to and independent of individualincome, the economic prosperity of a nationcontributed to a person's life satisfactionlevel. Also, the hypothesized cross-levelinteraction between wealth and income wastested and found significant: poor peopleliving in poor countries were less satisfiedwith their lives than poor people living inaffluent countries. Moreover, complex variationin life satisfaction was found at thewithin-nation level: poor individuals variedmore in their life satisfaction than richindividuals.


Life Satisfaction National Level Poor Country Poor People Individual Income 
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© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2002

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  • Peggy Schyns

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