Does education make us happier?
It depends. With regard to happiness, education seems to defend against extremes.
For those who are less happy, education provides a boost. This effect is reversed among very happy people:
With education, we find a nice example how the averaging out in standard regressions can effectively mask an effect: while education is not a significant influence on life satisfaction in the standard ordered probit model (see Table 4) we find clearly significant effects in our quantile regression (see Table 5). For the lower quantiles, education has a positive (significant) effect on life satisfaction (i.e., if you are less happy, a better education does benefit well-being). This effect is then reversed for the upper quantiles, where the coefficient esti- mate turns (significantly) negative. Those who are the most happy are negatively influenced by education. Education therefore plays a stabilizing role by decreasing the likelihood of extremes in well-being. In a certain sense, education can provide consolation to unhappy individuals, while it has a sobering effect at the upper end of the happiness distribution.
Source: “Going Beyond Average Joe’s Happiness: Using Quantile Regressions to Analyze the Full Subjective Well-Being Distribution” from Max Planck Institute of Economics, Evolutionary Economics Group, Kahlaische Str.10, 07745 Jena, Germany
Join 25K+ readers. Get a free weekly update via email here.