Education, Hopes, and the Happiness of Young Adults

Education, Hopes, and the Happiness of Young Adults

64 Pages · 2015 · 959 KB · English

Bahadır Dursun†. Louisiana State University. Department of Economics. 2416 BEC. Baton Rouge, LA 70803 [email protected] Resul Cesur. University of Connecticut. Finance Department. 2100 Hillside Road Unit 1041. Storrs, CT 06269-1041 [email protected] November 2015. *. We thank 

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Education , Hopes , and the Happiness of Young Adults * Bahadır Dursun † Louisiana State University Department of Economics 24 16 BEC Baton Rouge, LA 70803 [email protected] Resul Cesur University of Connecticut Finance Department 2100 Hillside Road Unit 1041 Storrs, CT 06269 1041 [email protected] November 2015 * We thank Jillian Carr, Briggs Depew, Naci Mocan, Robert Newman, and seminar participants at the Louisiana State University and 2015 Southern Economic Association Meetings for their comments and suggestions We gratefully acknowledge the assistance and help of Şebnem Beşe Canpolat, Metin Ayta ç, Salim Gürbüz, and the Demographic Statistics Department of the Turkish Statistical Institute with the data † Corresponding author 1 Education , Hopes, and the Happiness of Young Adults Abstract This is the first article examining the causal impact of extended primary schooling on happiness of young adults To tease out the causality, we rely on a law change that increased compulsory schooling from 5 to 8 years in Turkey Exposure to the reform led to a large increase in middle school completion rates of the birth cohorts who were bound by the law The result s show that holding a t least a middle school diploma increases the likelihood of being happy, and the probability of being satisfied with various life domains for young females Descriptive tests suggest that being hopeful about one’s own future wellbeing partly explain the relationship between women’s schooling and happiness We do not find evidence in favor of the view that extended schooling may improve the happiness of young men To the contrary, although relatively imprecisely estimated, we find some e vidence that men who hold at least a middle school degree experience a decline in subjective wellbeing Supplemental analysis provides evidence consistent with the view that an imbalance between aspirations and attainments caused by extended primary school ing may be the reason behind the counterintuitive findings among men KEYWORDS: Happiness, Subjective Wellbeing, Education JEL CLASS: I31, D60, I26 “The pursuit of h appiness is serious business Happiness for the entire human family is one of the main goals of the United Nations ” Ban Ki moon, United Nations Secretary General, 2015 1 1 Introduction Given that the conventional monetary measures of welfare , such as per capita GDP, are considered insufficient (Fleurbaey, 2009; Stiglitz, Sen and Fitoussi, 2009) and “the pursuit of happiness” is perceived as the ultimate goal of an individual ( Frey and St utzer, 2002a), the topic of subjective wellbeing has received increased attention both in politics and academics On the one hand, prominent politicians, including David Cameron and Nicolas Sarkozy, expressed their concerns towards the inadequacy of standa rd economic indicators in articulating human well being and vocalized

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