Journal of Social Research & Policy,
Volume: 1, Issue: 2, Pages: 103-116
Date: December 2010
ISSN: 2067-2640 (print), 2068-9861 (electronic)
Abstract: This paper is based on the Conceptual Referent Theory of Happiness, which states that people must have a conceptual referent for what a happy life means in order to assess their life as a happy one. The paper studies the existence of heterogeneity across countries in the inclination towards different conceptual referents for happiness. Empirical information comes from surveys applied to students in Cuba, Norway, and South Africa. It is found that there is statistically significant heterogeneity across countries regarding the conceptions of happiness and the way different inclinations towards these conceptions relate to happiness. This heterogeneity is relevant because it implies that the relevant resources for happiness may differ across countries and, moreover, across cultures.
Keywords: Happiness, Conceptual Referent, Cross-Country Comparisons, Social Construction