Title: How's life? An international classification based on life satisfaction and its determinants

Authors: Sergio Tezanos; Borja López-Noval

Addresses: Cátedra de Cooperación Internacional y con Iberoamérica and Departamento de Economía, Universidad de Cantabria, Av. los Castros SN, 39005 Santander, Spain ' Cátedra de Cooperación Internacional y con Iberoamérica and Departamento de Economía, Universidad de Cantabria, Av. los Castros SN, 39005 Santander, Spain

Abstract: Average life evaluations significantly vary across countries due to several factors, such as income, health, social support, freedom, generosity and corruption. In this paper we carry out an analysis of the joint distribution of average life satisfaction and five key determinants in 103 countries by means of a hierarchical cluster analysis. We build a life satisfaction taxonomy that identifies five groups of countries: two comprise relatively dissatisfied countries, one includes moderately satisfied countries, and the remaining two highly satisfied countries. The contribution of the taxonomy is twofold. First, it provides the first systematic classification of countries based on life satisfaction and its determinants and suggests that previous classifications are not as robust as it is usually assumed. Second, the taxonomy contributes to the discussion on the meaning and measurement of well-being. Interestingly, it shows that different configurations of the classification variables may be associated with similar levels of life satisfaction.

Keywords: life satisfaction; cross-country analysis; cluster analysis; multidimensional taxonomy; international classification.

DOI: 10.1504/IJHD.2022.10048754

International Journal of Happiness and Development, 2022 Vol.7 No.1, pp.64 - 90

Received: 03 Mar 2021
Accepted: 16 Jul 2021

Published online: 15 Jul 2022 *

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