Happiness and life satisfaction in egypt

Abstract

Recently, there has been an increasing interest among economists and policy makers to consider happiness as an important factor in the development strategy. This has been motivated by increasing evidence that raising a country's output and productivity is not a sufficient prerequisite to make people feel better. Although real income has been rising in the Western countries for a long time, subjective well-being has not increased in tandem. Using the World Values Survey-Egypt 2008 (WVS-E2008), this study examines the determinants of happiness and life satisfaction among Egyptians. The results of the estimated ordered probit models show that unhappiness is prevalent among old people, the unemployed and males. There appears to be a positive relation between happiness and income level, health state and life satisfaction. There is also evidence that higher education has no significant effect on the happiness level in comparison with the preparatory and secondary education. A significant effect of most of those variables on life satisfaction has also been observed. The study concludes with some policy recommendations that might help decision makers in their pursuit to increase individuals' happiness and life satisfaction.

1. Introduction

Recently, there has been an increasing interest among economists and policy makers to consider happiness an important factor in the development strategy. Such interest raises two questions concerning the conceptual meaning of happiness and the main drivers behind studying it. In a broader sense, Regarding the conceptual meaning, happiness in the broader sense is considered as the state of being satisfied with life as a whole (Diener, and Seligman 2004; Frey, and Stutzer 1999b; Graham 2004). In this regard, one can think of happiness in two magnitudes: a ‘hedonistic' conception and ‘eudaimonia' (Rode 2008). The general key focal point for the hedonistic notion concept is happinessfocuses on happiness as generally defined as the presence of a positive effect and the absence of a negative one, while the heart of the eudaimonic concept isbelief lies in the degree of satisfaction with life. Moreover, in the broader context, happiness is highly viewed as a crucial aspiration in life; all people want to attain it in almost every aspect of life over their life cycles (Frey, and Stutzer 20022001).

Furthermore, there are various perceptions of happiness depending on whether we view it from an the economic, psychological or policy makers' perspective. Economically speakingFrom an economic stand point,, subjective well-being (SWB) is considered the other phase side of the utility function; it is virtually believed that the level of SWB will rise if people are able to satisfy more preferences. These preferences are usually determined by pragmatic actions, rather than instead of directly asking people explicitly or measuring their overall physical situations. From the a psychological perspective, aspect,SWB is used to portray denote happiness as measured by scientists.psychologists. For policymakers, on the other hand, SWB is seen in the scope of objective life circumstances having positive externalities such as health or education (Rode 2008).

Despite the remarkable growth rate in 2007, the Government has been facing the challenge of a declining level of happiness and satisfaction among Egyptians. This issue has been subject of debate in media and conferences investigating why the Egyptian citizen feels dissatisfied. To assess the reasons, multiple questions are raised: Is life getting better or worse? What can improve individuals' happiness and life satisfaction? Does higher economic growth guarantee increasing individuals' happiness? In today's rapidly changing world, these questions are important items on the decision makers' agenda, as they are directly related to realizing individuals' well-being and good governance. They indicate the existence of reasons beyond economics that need to be examined when assessing individuals' happiness. Economic indicators alone could not explain individuals' well-being; hence, the importance of the economics of happiness approach to assess welfare exists, as it combines both the economists' and psychologists' techniques. Is life getting better? What can make individuals' happiness and life satisfaction improve? Does higher economic growth guarantee increasing individuals' happiness? Those questions are considered important on the decision makers' agenda in today's rapidly changing world. In recent years, the Egyptian government faces the challenge of falling happiness and satisfaction level among Egyptians in a rising economy. There were a great controversy in newspapers and conferences about why the Egyptian citizen feels dissatisfied. This means that economics alone can't explain the individuals' wellbeing. At that point the importance of the economics of happiness approach in assessing welfare rise as it combines the techniques used typically by economists with those used commonly by psychologists.

The purpose of this paper is to highlight the importance of identifying the determinants of happiness and life satisfaction among Egyptians using the findings of the World Values Survey- Egypt 2008 (WVS-E2008). The paper comprises four sections. Following the introduction, s organized as follows: Section 2 describes the current state of happiness research in economicsprovides literature review of happiness research in economics. In that context, Iit depictsportrays the origins of happiness research, economic versus psychological points of view, the importance of studying happiness, its definition and ways of measurement, as well as the determinants of happiness and the worthiness of maximizing its level.how it is measured and is it worthwhile to maximize happiness. Section 3 presents the empirical analysis and the model results. Section 4 concludes and introduces with a summary and some final remarks in addition to introducing a set of policy recommendations to improve happiness in the domain of life satisfaction. The estimation output and related expository notes are included in the Appendix.

2. The Status of Happiness Research in Economics: Literature Review

Happiness may sound like a new research field in economics, whereas, as a matter of fact, it has a long tradition in this field. Some might think that happiness is a new research field in economics, while in fact it has a long tradition in this field. Studying happiness and life satisfaction in order to evaluate assess the quality of lifewell-being goes back to Aristotle and beyond (Annas 1993). Also, In the 18th century, the concept of public happiness was firstly addressed by Italian economists, particularly Neapolitans. By the end of the 19th century, Achille Loria, suggested not to deal with the wealth of nations, as Adam Smith did, but rather with public happiness. But unfortunately, for two centuries, happiness, as a theme in economic thought, has been overshadowed (Bruni 2004).

The prevailing implicit hypothesis underlying economic analysis of welfare has been that even if the increase in wealth does not always bring a “proportional” increase in happiness, at least it does not reduce it. As a result, economists have focused on studying wealth and the utility function, rather than happiness, as a less complicated theme. Still, they keep in mind the fact that much of individuals' happiness depends on non-economic factors, such as relationships, emotional state, self-confidence, freedom, equitable chances, good education, good health, altruism and fairness, which have nothing to do with the market mechanisms (Powdthavee 2007a; Bruni 2004; Hermalin, and Isen 1999; Benabou, and Tirole 1999; Altonji et al. 1997; Rabin 1997).

The revival of interest in happiness as a major determinant in of economic welfare is perhaps one of the most important and newest trends capturingin economic thought, especially after realizing that wealth alone does not explain the changeslevel of individuals' happiness and their well-being. in individuals' well-being, and hence their happiness. Albeit statistical limitations, to best study happinessSWB, it is recommended to use the answers that people give when asked how happy they feel or how satisfied they are with certain life circumstances. There exist different various pertinent surveys that askon questions regarding SWB and individuals' perceptions, about the different life circumstances. Butbut unfortunately, these surveys have been studied intensively by psychologists rather than economists (Bruni 2004; Oswald 1997).

2.1 The Importance of Studying Happiness in Economics

From the economic perspective, there are three justifications for the recently growing interest in the happiness approach (Frey, and Stutzer 20022001). The first is the economic theory and its assumptions. For example, the Pareto-optimal proposal is unfeasible, because the cost of social actions hinder measuring the net effects. As cited in Varian (1992), ), “Vilfredo Pareto defined the concept of efficiency as the point where one cannot be happier without hurting another one. Under this definition, the economy in which a person consumes everything and the others are dying is efficient”.

The second justification is the significance of institutional circumstances, such as good governance, rule of law, and control of corruption on individual well-being, which the economic theory has not dealt with so far. Coyne, and Boettke (2006) show that social institutions have a positive effect on happiness through improving life and making it easier. Utilizing an ordered probit model on the World Values Survey data of 49 countries in the 1980's and 1990's, proved that well-being improved, due to theinstitutional circumstances improvements, like accountability and the stability of the government (Frey, and Stutzer 20022001; Helliwell 2002).

The third justification lies within the context of understanding the formation of subjective well-being. Economic theory has too idealistic assumptions, especially those related to people's ability to predict their future utilities perfectly. Alternatively, happiness research can help in solving some of the economic theory paradoxes. The most famous one is the income paradox or ‘“Easterlin paradox”', which illustrates why the economic growth does not improve the happiness and satisfaction level. Happiness research solves thisthat paradox as it shows that income is not the only factor affecting happiness. It also figures out that increasing income is not what individuals care about, but the main issue is having a relatively higher income than others (Easterlin 1974; Coyne, and Boettke 2006). Moreover, happiness research emphasizes that the relation between happiness and income is non-linear. Another paradox is work and life satisfaction. From an economic perspective, work is usually considered a burden for individuals to bear. However, empirical happiness research shows that unemployed people, even if they are having unemployment compensation, are dissatisfied (Frey, and Stutzer 20022001). Clark, and Oswald (1994) studied the negative relationship between unemployment and SWB, and Di Tella et al. (2001) found that both inflation and unemployment increased the unhappiness.

To sum up, happiness research findings put in new knowledge to what have become as benchmark views in economics. The research findings. It is considered happiness as a new factor in the development strategy that tackles both social and economic aspects, as a sound benchmark for decision makers. Today, happiness surveys are a natural tool for use by politicians and, ultimately, by societies.

2.2 Definition of HappinessDefining Happiness

The definition of happiness is subject to debate and is open to challenge, when Defining happiness is considered a main problem when measuring happiness as individuals' well-being. People generally use the word happiness touse that terminology to express other concepts like utility, satisfaction or welfare. However, the definition of happinessHappiness definition depends on two distinctionsdichotomies; the first is the difference between a good life and the actual outcomes of life, and the second one is the difference between external and internal quality of life (Sandal 2002; Veenhoven 2009).

To better understand the meaning of happiness, Veenhoven (2009) suggests that those two dichotomies mark four qualities of life: liva a bility, life-ability, utility and satisfaction.. LivabilityLivability means good living conditions; economists sometimes use that itterminology to define when defining welfare. Life-ability it illustrates more the inner life chances, i.e., how are youa person is equipped to cope with the problems of life. Utility of life represents the notion that a good life must be good for something more than itself. Satisfaction with life represents the inner outcome of life.

Veenhoven (2009) shows thatconsiders the last onethat satisfaction with life is the a more appropriate definition of happiness, since. the policy makers always endeavor try to improve the upper half of figure 1 by improving education, health etc., however, more does not necessarily mean better. Thus, c. but we should take into consideration that more is not always better and the study recommends that setting priorities for improvement is the main issue for policy makers to consider for improving the outcome of life, as shown in the lower part of figure 1.they need to set the priorities of improvements in order to improve the outcome of life that are represented in the bottom half of figure. This illustrates That may illustrate the importance of studyingthe why we need to study the determinants of happiness in order to set the priorities for improving the overall society's SWB of societies..

There is a debate between economists and psychologists concerning the theories of happiness and SWB. In psychology, the study of SWB is a fairly new topic, dating back to the 1960's. Empirical research in that field reveals that economic variables have little effect on happiness and that objective circumstances like gender, age, marital, and employment status have quite modest relationships with subjective outcomes. In addition, adaptation appears to swamp the effects of favorable changes in economic circumstances on happiness (Headey et al. 2004). As a result, even if a person's economic conditions improve dramatically, s/he will rapidly adapt accordingly and will have more aspirations for more future improvements. So, no gain in happiness is actually realized. Moreover, a prevailing theory in psychology is the set-point theory, according to which, each individual is thought to have a set-point for happiness, given by genetics and personality. Any positive or negative life event, such as marriage or loss of a job, may deflect a person above or below this set-point. But, by time hedonic adaptation will return an individual to the initial level. Hence, Asas Richard Kammann (1983) puts it “objective life circumstances have a negligible role to play in the theory of happiness”.

On the other hand, according to economists, life circumstancesparticularly growth of incomeis believed to have lasting effects on happiness. The prevailing theory ‘more is better' is based on the concept of revealed preference expressed in utility terms. A major implication of this theory is that policy measures aim at increasing the income of society as a whole, thus leading to a better individual well-being. Other economists see that a typical individual has a utility or happiness function, where well-being depends on a variety of pecuniary and non-pecuniary domains. The typical person is believed to have certain goals or aspirations and a current state of attainment in each domain. The overall happiness of the individual depends on the shortfall between aspirations and attainments in each domain, and the relative importance of each domain in the individual's utility function (Easterlin 2003).

It is just in the last two decades that economists have begun to develop an interest in psychological literature. An important motivation for the recent interest among economists in psychological theories and results relating to SWB is a concern that the ‘revealed preferences' approach may be open to challenge. In early 1970's, a group of Dutch economists, Van Praag, and Ferrer-i-Carbonell, went against the tide and started the new approach. The new approach is built on the assumption that people's preferences for goods and leisure are exogenously determined. However, there is a counter-theory proposing that preferences are, to a large extent, endogenous; that people change their preferences in response to what others have and want. If this is so, then one cannot reasonably infer that more goods and leisure, preferred at time t, will necessarily increase utility if acquired at time t+1 (Headey et al. 2004).

2.3 Measuring Happiness

As stated above, measuring happiness is getting to be considered an effective tool for policy makers when setting public policies. Therefore, this part of the study is focusing on the five main measures of individual well-being (Frey, and Stutzer 2006).

The first measure seeks to capture happiness and life satisfaction by asking people about their overall satisfaction with the life style they lead. The disadvantage of this approach is the biasness of the individual judgments. The wording, sequence, and the applied scale of questions can affect the respondents' answers on SWB. However, this approach proves to be cost effective and is available for many countries.

The second measure is the experience sampling method. This method depends on collecting data from selected individuals by asking them to immediately answer a battery of questions, with regard to the momentary positive and negative effects at a particular moment. Happiness can then be calculated by the aggregation of these instantaneous statements of effect. Unlike the survey method, this approach is costly,costly; hence, it is not widely used.

The third measure is the day reconstruction method. This method depends on asking the respondent to reconstruct the activities of the previous day by filling out a structured questionnaire. It is based on recalling the activities undertaken in the previous day by producing a sequence of episodes. If an episode has a positive effect, then it can be described as happy, warm, friendly, etc. If effects are negative, they are described as frustrating, depressing, hostile, etc.. Contrary to the survey method that is confined to one question, this method allows more refined measures of happiness as it induces respondents to think carefully about how they felt during each time period on a daily basis. Despite that advantage, the day reconstruction method is still new and not widely used.

Unlike the above methods, the unpleasant index (UU-index) method can use a scale to map the correspondent's feeling. That method is proposed by (Kahneman, and Krueger (2006). It uses the day reconstruction method to avoid the cardinality concern.[2] “It is defined as the fraction of time per day that an individual spends in an unpleasant state. It relies on the observation that the dominant emotional state of most of the people during most of the time is positive. Hence, any episode when a negative feeling occurs is a significant occurrence” (Frey, and Stutzer 2006). Therefore, the U-index method depends mainly on unpleasant episodes, while ignoring positive episodesones.

The last and the most sophisticated measure is the brain imaging method. This method depends on scanning an individual's brain when s/he is subjected to different activities. It relies on Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging, which tracks blood flow in the brain using changes in magnetic properties due to blood oxygenation. This method has proved that happy individuals show more activities in the left prefrontal cortex of the brain than in the right prefrontal cortex. Although this method is more efficient in determining the state of happiness than the survey method, however, it is not commonly used because of its costs and the inability to apply it on a large scale.

2.4 Determinants of Happiness

There is a wide empirical work concerning the determinants of happiness due to its importance in drawing the guideline in formulating public policies. In thisat regard, there is an increasing interest among economists to figure out the relationship between happiness and some demographic, economic, institutional factors, etc. As mentioned above, happiness level is affected by pecuniary and non-pecuniary factors. Frey, and Stutzer (2003) show that there are three general sets of factors affecting happiness. Under each factor, there exist number of sub-factors that determine happiness in a way that could differ from time to time and from place to another. These three sets of factors are personality and demographic, micro- and macro-economics and institutional (constitutional) factors.

Personality and demographic factors describe the personal attributes of respondents and comprise age, gender, education, marital status, etc.

Micro- and macro-economic factors depict the main economic indicators affecting the SWB. The three most famous factors in this category are income, unemployment and inflation. Higher income does not necessarily result in more happiness. It is also obvious that unemployment and inflation have a negative effect on the level of happiness and life satisfaction.

Institutional (constitutional) factors include democracy and decentralization. However, the impact of both the extent and design of democratic and national institutions on SWB has not yet been extensively analyzed. Usually, this set of factors is investigated using proxies or indices, like asking questions about freedom, confidence in institutions such as the government, the police, the parliament and the judicial system.

It is worth noting, when studying the determinants of happiness, that each factor does not always have the same effect on the level of happiness. That effect may differ from country to another, or it may change in the same country from time t to time t+n. That difference occurs due to the dissimilarity in the cultural and values system that governs the society. In this regard, we are guided in Tthis study is guided by empirical literature to specify the determinants of happiness for the Egyptians rather than assume these determinants before running our model.

It is also important to note that there are some factors that have the same effect on happiness, regardless of the society studied. Among these are factors like marriage, institutional effects, income and age. According to studies in the fields of psychology, sociology and epidemiology, married people have better physical and psychological health than single people and they live longer (Bruni 2004). Empirical studies also show that developed institutional system, democracy and good governance prove to have positive effect on SWB (Frey, and Stutzer 1999a). In addition, happiness research stresses the positive relation between happiness and income level. However, it should be noted that the relationship between income and happiness is non-linear, i.e., diminishing marginal utility with absolute income. According to the aspiration level theory, individuals determine their happiness level by the difference between aspiration and achievement (Frey, and Stutzer 20022001). Happiness literature also emphasizes the U-shape relation between age and happiness. A debate has emerged around the turning point at which the relation converts. It has been found that the turning point differs from males to females and between societies. It also differs when taking into consideration other determinants of happiness besides age. But most of the studies point out that the turning point occurs in mid-life (Blanchflower, and Oswald 2007).

2.5 Should Happiness be Maximized?

Measuring happiness has led to new visions being fashioned in economics and other social sciences (Frey, and Stutzer 2007). This raises an interesting question: Should maximizing people's happiness be the government's policy goal? It may be enticing to think of a place where everyone is more satisfied with heris/ or hiser life and happier. In setting the government policy, it is a mistake to leap to the conclusion that happiness should be maximized, in the sense of social welfare function maximization, due to the following reasons:

The happiness conceptconcept of happiness: It is a “subjective” measure of individual welfare that includes experience as well as procedural utility. It seeks to capture the primary goal of people; the satisfaction with life taken as a whole. Notwithstanding the fact that happiness is not derived from actual behavior, it is highly correlated with generally accepted manifestations of well-being; the determinants of happiness (Frey, and Stutzer 1999a). Furthermore, the presumed goal of maximization is virtually always unrealizable in real life, owing to both the complexity of the human environment and the limitations of human information processing. These suggest that in choice situations, people actually have the goal of ‘“satisfying”&lrquo; rather than ‘“maximizing”' (Schwartz et al. 2002).

On the individual level:, s Subjective opinions may be influenced by short run events, making it difficult to determine from survey answers what truly makes people happy. Subjective evaluations of happiness may be easily affected, in the short run, by issues that have nothing to do with long-term disabilities or the loss of a relative. Moreover, people's satisfaction is more affected more by the negative than the positive incidents. Therefore, “policies that seek to maximize happiness may have a strong favoritism toward the status quo” (Rode 2008). Furthermore, people's satisfaction with their lives is also affected by the extent to which information is available to them. Those who lack information may not be able to evaluate their situation reasonably. Likewise, individuals who are flooded with information about how well everyone else is doing may become frustrated, not because their situation is so dire, but because they feel they are lagging behind their peers (Rode 2008). Finally, individuals have a tendency to misrepresent their happiness levels strategically to sway government policy in their favor (Frey, and Stutzer 20022001).

On the government level, we should not ignore the possibility that personal interests of politicians may matter. Not all governments are composed of purely benevolent politicians wishing to make the population as happy as possible. Moreover, policies that aim to maximize happiness could also work against individual rights. There are some areas where the government has little or no room for intervention like, marriage, friendship, and religion. (Rode 2008). For those reasons, the maximization of aggregate happiness as a social welfare function is a doubtful approach that has several drawbacks. (Rode 2008).

2.6 Determinants of Happiness

There is wide empirical work concerning the determinants of happiness due to its importance in drawing the guideline in formulating public policies. In that regard, there is an increasing interest among economists to figure out the relationship between happiness and some demographic, economic, institutional factors, etc. As mentioned above, happiness level is affected by pecuniary and non-pecuniary factors. Frey and Stutzer (2003) show that there are three general sets of factors affecting happiness. Under each factor, there exist a number of sub-factors that determine happiness in a way that could differ from time to time and from place to another. These three sets of factors are personality and demographic, micro- and macroeconomics and institutional (constitutional). Personality and demographic factors describe the personal attributes of respondents and comprise age, gender, education, marital status, etc.

Micro- and macroeconomic factors depict the main economic indicators affecting the SWB. The three most famous factors in this category are income, unemployment and inflation. Higher income does not necessarily result in more happiness. It is also obvious that unemployment and inflation have a negative effect on the level of happiness and life satisfaction.

Institutional (constitutional) factors include democracy and decentralization. However, the impact of both the extent and design of democratic and national institutions on SWB has not yet been extensively analyzed. Usually, this set of factors is investigated using proxies or indices, like asking questions about freedom, confidence in institutions such as the government, the police, the parliament and the judicial system.

It is worth noting, when studying the determinants of happiness, that each factor does not always have the same effect on the happiness level. That effect may differ from country to another, or it may change in the same country from time t to time t + n. That difference occurs due to the dissimilarity in the cultural and values system that govern the society. In this regard, we are guided in this study by empirical literature to specify the determinants of happiness for the Egyptians rather than assume these determinants before running our model.

It is also important to note that there are some factors that have the same effect on happiness, regardless of the society studied. Among these are factors like marriage, institutional effects, income and age. According to studies in the fields of psychology, sociology and epidemiology, married people have better physical and psychological health than single people and they live longer (Bruni 2004). Empirical studies also show that developed institutional system, democracy and good governance prove to have positive effect on SWB (Frey and Stutzer 1999a). In addition, happiness research stresses the positive relation between happiness and income level. However, it should be noted that the relationship between income and happiness is non-linear, i.e. diminishing marginal utility with absolute income. According to the aspiration level theory, individuals determine their happiness level by the difference between aspiration and achievement (Frey and Stutzer 2002). Happiness literature also emphasizes the U-shape relation between age and happiness. A debate has emerged around the turning point at which the relation converts. It was found that the turning point differs from males to females and between societies. It also differs when taking into consideration other determinants of happiness besides age. But most of the studies point out that the turning point occurs in mid-life (Blanchflower and Oswald 2007).

3. Empirical Analysis

Despite the remarkable progress in economic, political, and social aspects reported by the Egyptian government and international institutions, there is a great controversy about why the Egyptian citizen feels dissatisfied. The welfare of individuals is considered one of the most important issues on the decision makers' agenda, because of its direct impact on individual satisfaction and happiness. The economics of happiness is an approach to assessing welfare, which combines the techniques typically used typically by economists with those commonly used commonly by psychologists (Graham 2005). In this respect, economists developed the concept of Gross National Happiness (GNH), which is not less important than the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) when measuring the improvement of the country in economic terms. In that context,Therefore, happiness research can influence many economic decisions, hence, it can affect the design of economic policies.

3.1 Data and Methodology

This study uses data of World Values Survey-Egypt 2008 (WVS-E2008). The estimation technique is the ordered probit model. In what follows, we first present Aan overview on WVS-E2008 is presented and then. We then an explainexplanation of the determinants of happiness and life satisfaction follows, using the previous literature and referring to questions asked in the survey.

3.1.1 Overview of the world values survey-Egypt 2008

The WVS-E 2008 was administered under the supervision of the Information and Decision Support Center (IDSC), in coordination with the World Values Survey (WVS) organization. The survey aims at helping decision makers and researchers to better identify the value system that governs the Egyptian citizens and forms their conscience. It also aims at monitoring the changes in individuals' beliefs and motives. It can be used in identifying the disparities in society according to age, gender, place of residence, educational level, the economic situation, etc. The sample is designed according to post-enumeration survey database that covers six different geographic areas.[3] The sample size is 3,050 individuals, aged 18 and above, and is randomly drawn from the governorates according to their share in population. The frontier governorates are excluded from the survey coverage, due to their low population density.[4] Table A1 in the Appendix shows the socio-demographic characteristics of the sample.

3.1.2 Determinants of happiness and satisfaction about life in the Egyptian society

The analysis started by examining the effects of individual characteristics on happiness and life satisfaction. Happiness and satisfaction are measured on an ordinal scale, and hence an ordered probit model would be the most appropriate econometric technique. The sets of indicators employed in the model can be summarized under the headings of income, material living conditions, individual characteristics, social relations, educational attainment, employment related questions and surrounding environment. After identifying a sensible set of individual happiness and satisfaction indicators, we propose estimating a stepwise ordered probit regression, so as to determine the socio-economic indicators that can best determine happiness and life satisfaction.

Our two dependent variables are how happy are you when you think of your life as a whole? And how satisfied are you with your life as a whole these days? The sample results show that 73.5 percent are quite happy, and 9.7 percent are very happy, while 14.8 percent are not happy, and 2.03 percent are not at all happy. They also show that 47 percent are dissatisfied, and 53 percent are satisfied. It is worth mentioning that 60.2 percent of the individuals who reported as happy are satisfied, while 83.6 percent of the individuals who reported as unhappy are dissatisfied as shown in table 1.

TABLE 1. Happiness and Life Satisfaction in Egypt (Percent)

Based on reported happiness and life satisfaction, the SWB index is calculated. The scores are based on individual responses to questions about happiness and life satisfaction, giving each question an equal weight. The SWB index was constructed as follows:

SWB = Life satisfaction - 2.5 * Happiness

In this context, a country will get a score of 7.5 if all individuals report that they are very happy and extremely satisfied. On the other hand, if all individuals are not at all happy and dissatisfied, the score will then be -9. Getting Aa score of zero means that a country is evenly balanced (Inglehart et al. 2008). Egypt got a score of 0.58, which supports that Egyptians have a low SWB level. Table 2 displays the independent variables grouped in categories that allow us to follow the literature.

TABLE 2. Independent Variables in the Happiness and Life Satisfaction Model

GroupIndicator

  1. Cited in (Di Tella and MacCulloch 2005).
  2. Nobody can guarantee that the answer ‘very satisfied' is really worth twice the value of the answer “‘not satisfied'”.
  3. The post-enumeration survey database consists of 53,000 households.
  4. The Egyptian Cabinet - Information and Decision Support Center (IDSC). World Values Survey-Egypt 2008 (WVS-E2008), http://surveysbank.org.eg/SurveyDetails.aspx?survey_code=17

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