Cross-National and Multi-level Analysis of Human Values, Institutions and Behaviour (HumVIB)

“HAPPINESS (HAPpiness, Political Institutions, Natural Environment and Space) - A comparative analysis of the influence of environmental conditions, environmental regimes and political context on subjective well-being”


The overarching objective of HAPPINESS is to shed light on how multi-level heterogeneity helps explain the variation in subjective well-being across European countries and regions.

The focus is on two important sources of spatial heterogeneity and their interactions; (i) Environmental heterogeneity (including objective environmental conditions and environmental attitudes and policies) and (ii) Institutional and political heterogeneity (including characteristics of the institutional and political context and individual socio-political interests and orientations). The units of analysis are two: regions at a micro level and countries at a macro level. While, by definition, individuals experience their environment and political context at an individual or micro level; some of the factors that shape how location-specific and institutional factors affect individuals’ perceptions and subjective well-being may occur at a national or macro level (unemployment and inflation rates for example). This research will investigate how systemic factors related to the environmental and institutional settings interact with and modify individual behaviour. An equally important objective of this proposal is to collate data on environmental and political attributes at the pan-European level and to make this dataset available to the international research community via a project website. An additional goal in the context of this proposal is to link these attributes to the individuals experiencing them at the highest possible level of disaggregation in order to analyze their impact on quality of life at a pan-European level. This will be facilitated through the use of GIS. 

HAPPINESS has a website.

Project Leader:
Dr. Susana Ferreira, University of Georgia, USA

Principal Investigators:
Dr. Finbarr Brereton, University College, Dublin, Ireland
Professor Peter Martinsson, Gothenburg University, Sweden
Professor Olof Johansson-Stenman, Gothenburg University, Sweden
Professor Juncal Cuñado, Universidad de Navarra, Pamplona, Spain