The happiness of economists

There is a new paper by Lars P. Feld, Sarah Necker, and Bruno S. Frey, and here is the abstract:

This study investigates the determinants of economists’ life satisfaction. The analysis is based on a survey of professional, mostly academic economists from European countries and beyond. We find that certain features of economists’ professional situation influence their well-being. Happiness is increased by having more research time while the lack of a tenured position decreases satisfaction in particular if the contract expires in the near future or cannot be extended. Surprisingly, publication success has no effect on satisfaction. While the perceived level of external pressure also has no impact, the perceived change of pressure in recent years has. Economists may have accepted a high level of pressure when entering academia but do not seem to be willing to cope with the increase observed in recent years.

You will note that “Economists tend to report a high level of life satisfaction.”  Furthermore this does not vary by gender.  Here are the nationality effects:

Compared to German economists, Italian, French and researchers from Eastern European countries have a statistically significantly lower probability to report being “highly satisfied” (significant at least at the 5%-level).  A similar effect is observed for economists from Spain, Portugal, and Austria; the effects are, however, at most significant at the 10%-level. Researchers from Switzerland, North America and Scandinavian countries tend to be more happy.

For the pointer I thank Viktor Brech.


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