Happiness and Life Satisfaction in Turkey in Recent Years
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This paper aims to investigate the determinants of happiness and life satisfaction in Turkey in recent years. It uses regression analyses based on micro data from two nationally representative household surveys, namely the Turkish Life Satisfaction Survey and the World Values Survey for Turkey, in years 2007 and 2011. The wide variety of data collected by the two surveys enables a comprehensive analysis of the correlates of the outcome variable. Although some of the results are consistent both with the earlier ones in the literature and across the datasets used in this study, some others depend on the time period, the set of control variables and the sample used; thus casting doubt on the strength of the findings. To make a proper comparison and to isolate the differences generated by different samples, the analysis is restricted to the same set of control variables that are defined in the most similar manner. The variables whose estimates have been found to be similar are unemployment status, marital status, relative income, and gender. The differences are observed in the estimates of age, absolute income and education. The conclusion is that the question of what determines happiness is still a valid one that needs to be studied with more and better data. Recommendations are made for ways to improve data quality.