Are the Dimensions of the Human Development Index (HDI) Important in Explaining Subjective Well-being (SWB)?




Wang, Anke

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This study explores the relationship between human development and subjective well-being (SWB), specifically analyzing the correlations between the Cantril Ladder measure of life satisfaction and the dimensions of the Human Development Index (HDI): income, health, and education. I estimate the relative importance of three dimensions and some socio-demographic controls such as age, gender, and employment status in explaining individuals’ life satisfaction using an ordered logit model based on the 2014 Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS). Consistent with previous research, I find that income and health have positive effects on people’s life satisfaction, whereas education has a negative impact but small in magnitude. I also find that health is the most important determinant of life satisfaction, and income only has a small impact on life satisfaction relative to health. All selected socio-demographic characteristics are significant predictors of life satisfaction, and age effects on life satisfaction are roughly U-shaped over the life cycle.



life satisfaction, income, health, education, correlation, relative importance