Hypertension and Happiness across Nations
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.
For advice and valuable discussions, we thank two anonymous referees and James Banks, Issy Bray, Bruce Charlton, Carol Graham, John Helliwell, Danny Kahneman, Avner Offer, Chris Owen, Robert Putnam, Donald Singer, Doug Staiger, Andrew Steptoe, and Margaret Thorogood. The second author's work was funded by an ESRC professorial research fellowship. The views expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
- Happiness among American men and women reaches its estimated minimum at approximately ages 49 and 45 respectively. To design...
Blanchflower, David G. & Oswald, Andrew J., 2008. "Hypertension and happiness across nations," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 218-233, March. citation courtesy of