Are the faithful happier? Happiness in Israel, Effects of Religion, Origin, and War

Bernard M.S. Van Praag2, Dmitri Romanov 1, Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell3
1Central Bureau of Statistics, Israel, 2University of Amsterdam, IZA, CESifo, DIW, The Netherlands, 3Institut d'AnÓlisi Econ˛mica (IAE-CSIC), Spain

We analyze individual satisfaction with life as a whole and satisfaction with the personal economic situation of Israeli citizens of Jewish and Arab descent. Our data set is the Israeli Social Survey (2006,2007). We are especially interested in the impact of the religions Judaism, Islam and Christianity, where we are able to differentiate between individuals who vary in religiosity between atheist and ultra –orthodox. We find a significant effect of religion on happiness. Most striking is the differential impact of family size on both life and economic satisfaction. The Jewish population is happier than the Muslims, with the Christian Arabs in between. First-generation immigrants are less happy than second-generation immigrants, while there is no significant difference between second-generation families and native families. The effect of the Lebanon War is much less than expected

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