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Economics of happiness: Income and non-income determinants of happiness among Malaysian Chinese

Tang, Boon Guan (2021) Economics of happiness: Income and non-income determinants of happiness among Malaysian Chinese. Doctoral thesis, Universiti Utara Malaysia.

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Happiness has become a pivotal element in our daily life as everybody wants to be happy. However, the existing happiness literature has shown that there is a happiness gap among the Malaysian Chinese. The Malaysian Chinese, who are performing well economically, are performing poorly in their happiness scores and religiosity. The potential explanations for this happiness gap could be the omission of the essential expenditures and the interactive effect of religiosity. Thus, the present study attempts to investigate the income and non-income determinants that influence happiness among the Malaysian Chinese, including the essential expenditures and the interactive effect of religiosity. This study consists of 1319 respondents that had been collected through a two-stage stratified random and quota sampling method. The ordered logit regression model estimation results have shown that the income-related variables, which affect Malaysian Chinese happiness, are actual income, relative income, discrepancy income, and essential expenditures. The essential expenditures especially, has a significant negative influence on happiness among the Malaysian Chinese. The offsetting effects of the increase in both income and essential expenditures on happiness could be an alternative explanation of the Easterlin income-happiness paradox in the case of Malaysian Chinese. Among the non-income variables, religiosity has significant positive effects on happiness, which include the dimensions of practice, belief, precept, and giving. Moreover, the other significance non-income (socio-demographic) variables are gender, marital status, educational level, employment status, health status, positive and negative emotions, and types of religion. Finally, on the interaction of the common religiosity of all religions to income and non-income variables, the empirical results have indicated that different dimensions of religiosity would have various significant interactive influences. The present study has identified new significant variables that affect Malaysian Chinese happiness. It would offer an alternative explanation for the Easterlin income-happiness paradox.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Supervisor : Lim, Hock Eam and Yuan, Zhen
Item ID: 10338
Uncontrolled Keywords: Happiness, income, religiosity, Buddhist, Malaysian Chinese
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
Divisions: School of Economics, Finance & Banking
Date Deposited: 01 Mar 2023 04:19
Last Modified: 01 Mar 2023 04:19
Department: School of Economics, Finance and Banking
Name: Lim, Hock Eam and Yuan, Zhen
URI: https://etd.uum.edu.my/id/eprint/10338

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