Culture and happiness

Dezhu Ye, Yew-Kwang Ng, Yujun Lian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

83 Citations (Scopus)


Culture is an important factor affecting happiness. This paper examines the predictive power of cultural factors on the cross-country differences in happiness and explores how different dimensions of cultural indices differ in their effects on happiness. Our empirical results show that the global leadership and organizational behavior effectiveness nine culture indices are all significantly related with happiness. Out of these nine indices, power distance (PDI) and gender egalitarianism (GEI) play the most important and stable role in determining subjective well-being (SWB). We further examine the relative importance of the various variables in contributing to the R-squared of the regression. The results show that PDI is the most important, accounting for 50 of the contributions to R-squared of all variables, or equalling the combined contributions of income, population density and four other traditional variables. The contribution of GEI is 37.1 , also well surpassing other variables. Our results remain robust even taking account of the different data for culture and SWB.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)519 - 547
Number of pages29
JournalSocial Indicators Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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