NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Hypertension and Happiness across Nations

David G. Blanchflower, Andrew J. Oswald

NBER Working Paper No. 12934
Issued in February 2007
NBER Program(s):   HE   LS

A modern statistical literature argues that countries such as Denmark are particularly happy while nations like East Germany are not. Are such claims credible? The paper explores this by building on two ideas. The first is that psychological well-being and high blood-pressure are thought by clinicians to be inversely correlated. The second is that blood-pressure problems can be reported more objectively than mental well-being. Using data on 16 countries, the paper finds that happier nations report lower levels of hypertension. The paper's results are consistent with, and seem to offer a step towards the validation of, cross-national estimates of well-being.

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Published: Blanchflower, David G. & Oswald, Andrew J., 2008. "Hypertension and happiness across nations," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 218-233, March.

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