OECD Economics Department Working Papers

Working papers from the Economics Department of the OECD that cover the full range of the Department’s work including the economic situation, policy analysis and projections; fiscal policy, public expenditure and taxation; and structural issues including ageing, growth and productivity, migration, environment, human capital, housing, trade and investment, labour markets, regulatory reform, competition, health, and other issues.

The views expressed in these papers are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the OECD or of the governments of its member countries.

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What Makes Mexicans Happy?

The growing literature studying the determinants of subjective wellbeing find that Mexicans report, on average, levels of life satisfaction that are above what would be predicted by the available objective measures of well-being. This paradox raises the following question: Are the drivers of subjective well-being in Mexico different from the drivers in other countries? This paper tries to answer this question using data from the World Gallup Poll and Instituto Nacional de Estadísticas y Geografía (INEGI). In particular, it investigates if the impact that key objective measures of well-being have on life satisfaction is different in Mexico than in other countries. The results show that the drivers of life satisfaction are very similar to those in other countries. In particular, as in other countries, in Mexico income, education, health, job status and other individual characteristics are significantly associated with life satisfaction. These findings suggest that the higher average level of life satisfaction in Mexico is probably related to unobserved country characteristics. This Working Paper relates to the 2015 OECD Economic Survey of Mexico (www.oecd.org/eco/surveys/economic-survey-mexico.htm).


Keywords: income, health, employment status, subjective well-being, life satisfaction
JEL: O4: Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth / Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity; O1: Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth / Economic Development; I3: Health, Education, and Welfare / Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty; N3: Economic History / Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy; D6: Microeconomics / Welfare Economics
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