Cultural Bias or Societal Quality?

Piet Ouweneel and Ruut Veenhoven, Erasmus University of Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Published in: Bleichrodt, N & Drenth, P.J. (eds) 'Contemporary issues in cross-cultural psychology, Swets & Zeitlinger, 1991, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, pp 168-184

There are sizeable differences in happiness between countries. These differences are consistent across indicators and quite stable through time.
There is a little support for the view that these differences are due to "cultural bias". In test performed here do not suggest that a great part of the difference results from cultural differences in "language", "desirability bias", "response tendencies" or "familiarity" with the concept of happiness.
There is solid empirical support for the view that these differences result from the fact that some societies provide their citizens with better living conditions than others. The bulk of the variance in happiness can be explained by nation characteristics such as economic prosperity, social security, political freedom, and social equality.

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