The economic geography of happiness, unhappiness and discontent


15th December 2020
h. 16:30


Politecnico di Milano - MS Teams

Webinar organized as part of the project DAStU, Department of Excellence on Territorial Fragilities



The importance of spatial context in the analysis of happiness has long been recognized in economic studies, including the seminal work by Easterlin (1974) who considered the impact of national Gross Domestic Project on well-being. Since then, there have been a considerable number of studies that consider both individual and household characteristics as well as spatial context and the argument for adopting an explicitly geographical approach has been increasingly highlighted. This presentation offers an economic geography perspective on the analysis of happiness, unhappiness and discontent. First individual- and household-level determinants of subjective well-being are considered by briefly reviewing the current state of the art in the emerging field known as the Economics of Happiness. This is followed by an argument for a Spatial Economics and Economic Geography perspective (Ballas, 2018; 2021), illustrated with new innovative ways of visualizing the spatial distribution of happiness and related variables (Ballas et al., 2017). In addition, an attempt to link the literature of the geography of happiness and well-being to the geographies of discontent (and the ‘places that do not matter’) literature is also presented, including an analysis of voting for self-proclaimed ‘anti-establishment political parties’ drawing upon recent and on-going research conducted at the University of Groningen (Koeppen et al., 2019). This is followed by discussion of relevant theoretical insights as well as new possibilities for advanced spatial analysis (including the use of spatial microsimulation and spatial econometrics).



16.30 _Introduction
Gabriele Pasqui / DAStU TF Project Scientific Coordinator
Manos Matsaganis / DAStU

Dimitris Ballas /Professor of Economic Geography, University of Groningen

Camilla Lenzi / DABC Politecnico di Milano

17.45_Open debate

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