The Centre For Water Research

Past CWR Seminars

CWR Seminar: The Education-Happiness Puzzle
Date 26/11/2014 at 16:00:00
Venue Blakers Lecture Room, Ground Floor, Mathematics Building, The University of Western Australia.
Speaker Ingebjorg Kristoffersen, Associate Lecturer, Economics (UWA Business School), The University of Western Australia

Because education is known to positively affect several objective measures of life outcomes, education is also hypothesised to be positively associated with happiness and satisfaction. However, evidence on this association is scant and inconsistent, and many studies report a negative such association. This appears counter-intuitive.

This study uses panel data from the Household Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey to replicate such results and explain their origins. Education is found to affect the position of the life satisfaction function, or the function which maps the relationship between life circumstances and life satisfaction. This is consistent with the idea that people with higher levels of education have higher expectations and aspirations with respect to key life circumstances, which explains negative direct effects of education on happiness and satisfaction. As these expectations and aspirations are in general met, the overall effect of education on life satisfaction is neutral.


Inga Kristoffersen is a Lecturer in Economics at the UWA Business School. Her early research interests concerned links between corporate social performance and financial performance, and how socially responsible investments behave as financial assets. Her current research interests concern the economic analysis of happiness and satisfaction.

PS* This seminar is free and open to the public & no RSVP required.

****All Welcome****

Facilitator Clelia Marti
Organiser Askale Abebe
Student Host Wencai Zhou

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