No SDES-2019-8
Title Happiness, generativity and social preferences in a developing country
Author Mostafa Elsayedshahen, Shibly Shahrier and Koji Kotani
Abstract Happiness, generativity and social preferences are pivotal factors for betterment and sustainability of societies. However, little is known about the relationship among happiness, generativity and social preferences along with sociodemographic factors within a single analytical framework. We hypothesize that generativity and social preferences are the determinants for happiness, and conduct a survey experiment collecting the data of five subjective happiness scales, generativity, social value orientation and sociodemographic variables in one urban area (Dhaka) and two rural areas (Bogra and Gaibandha), Bangladesh. With the data, we empirically characterize the determinants of subjective happiness with a focus on generativity and social value orientation, controlling for sociodemographic factors. The statistical analysis consistently shows positive association between subjective happiness and generativity, irrespective of the types of happiness scales, while social value orientation does not exhibit any significance. Rural residents have lower peer relative happiness than urban ones, and household income has positive relationship with general subjective happiness, leading each of these factors to be significant in overall subjective happiness. In summary, our results suggest that generativity and income are the main determinants, and economic growth with further urbanization, which is expected to occur in future, can negatively affect people’s happiness if it brings a decrease in generativity.
Revised version published in Sustainability