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Publication - Professor Eugenio Proto

    National Happiness and Genetic Distance

    A Cautious Exploration


    Proto, E & Oswald, AJ, 2017, ‘National Happiness and Genetic Distance: A Cautious Exploration’. Economic Journal, vol 127., pp. 2127-2152


    This article studies a famous unsolved puzzle in quantitative social science. Why do some nations report such high levels of mental well-being? Denmark, for instance, regularly tops the league table of rich countries’ happiness; Britain and the US enter further down; some nations do unexpectedly poorly. The explanation for the long-observed ranking – one that holds after adjustment for GDP and other socioeconomic variables – is currently unknown. Using data on 131 countries, the article cautiously explores a new approach. It documents three forms of evidence consistent with the hypothesis that some nations may have a genetic advantage in well-being.

    Full details in the University publications repository