Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Chair/Advisor

Scott Templeton

Committee Member

Jorge Luis Garcia

Committee Member

Robert Fleck


Happiness research has become a topic of interest in recent years. The OECD's "Better Life Index," the U.N.'s "World Happiness Report," and Taiwan's "National Happiness Indicator" are examples of initiatives to understand better and evaluate the well-being of people. After the well-known "Easterlin Paradox" was proposed, more and more economists started researching the economics of happiness. Economists studied the relationship between reported happiness and income and the relationship between reported happiness and socioeconomic factors and demographic factors. In this study, I use data from the Taiwan Social Change Survey of 1995, 2000, 2005, 2010, and 2015 to analyze potential factors affecting or at least correlated with people's reported happiness. To analyze these factors, I estimate an ordered logit model with data on reported happiness. Being female, having a higher educational level, believing in Western Religion, having a higher income, and being a student are statistically significant and positively correlated with a higher likelihood of reporting being very happy. This result is consistent with the Easterlin paradox. At a point in time, individuals with higher incomes in Taiwan are more likely to report being very happy. Also, while the Taiwanese GDP doubled from 1995 to 2015, there was no noticeable increase in the likelihood of reporting being fairly happy or very happy.



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