Subjective well-being in a transition economy
: evidence from Macedonia

  • Mirjana Grkovska

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    This thesis contributes to the field of economics of happiness by examining, for the first time in detail, the determinants of subjective well-being (SWB) in Macedonia. Three data sources, European Quality of Life Survey, World Bank Indicators and World Governance Indicators for the periods 2007–2008 and 2011–2012 are analysed, by using Ordinary Least Squares, ordered probit, quantile regression models, Shapley decompositions, statistical kernel matching and Blinder-Oaxaca decompositions, which support the development of three different but related empirical studies.
    The first study analyses the impact of a range of socio-economic characteristics. The results suggest that employment activity, health and household income are the most prominent individual-level determinants of SWB in Macedonia. The second study focuses on the labour market, especially those factors related to employment or unemployment status and finds that job insecurity, duration of unemployment and the receipt of unemployment benefits negatively affect the SWB of Macedonians. The last study places Macedonia in a broader European context and finds that institutional factors (such as corruption and social trust) and macro-economic conditions (unemployment and GDP) can help to explain the differences in SWB between Macedonia and other countries in Europe.
    The analysis also sheds lights on the rise in SWB in Macedonia, and finds that this increase is only partly related to differences in personal characteristics, which suggests that the data are unable to explain some of the rise in SWB. Possible reasons are suggested for this. The main policy implications are that the key areas for intervention in Macedonia to further enhance SWB are labour-market issues (employment and income levels) as well as institutional reforms.
    Date of Award25 Jun 2019
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Roehampton
    SupervisorStephen Drinkwater (Supervisor) & Gholamreza Arabsheibani (Supervisor)


    • Subjective well-being
    • Life satisfaction
    • Happiness
    • Transition countries
    • Macedonia
    • EQLS
    • Unemployment
    • Labour market
    • Happiness gap
    • Institutions
    • Quantile regression
    • Ordered probit models
    • Kernel matching
    • Shapley decomposition
    • Oaxaca-Binder decomposition

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