The complex relationship between education and happiness: The case of highly educated individuals in Italy

Gabriele Ruiu, Maria Ruiu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

The present work aims to explore whether there exists a systematic frustration in terms of income expectations among those who have obtained high level of education in Italy, and if this mismatch between expected and effective incomes negatively affects their perception of happiness. We adopt a reference-dependent preferences model combined with the concept of “illusory superiority bias” to analyse data on “happiness” in Italy, provided by the biennial survey conducted by the Bank of Italy on the Italian households’ incomes and wealth between 2004 and 2014. Our results show a positive effect produced by education on incomes. High educated workers have on average higher income than other people, and this difference is statistically significant controlling for working experience and other possible confounding factors. However, the disutility resulting from the frustration of expectations produces negative effects on perceived happiness. Even though highly educated people are actually able to find better job matching in comparison to less educated workers, they are also more likely to seeing their income expectations frustrated.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2631-2653
JournalJournal of Happiness Studies
Volume20
Issue number8
Early online date3 Dec 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019

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