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What makes people in Scotland happy? Is it where they live?

Davies, Sara and Dunlop, Stewart and Swales, Kim (2016) What makes people in Scotland happy? Is it where they live? Fraser of Allander Economic Commentary, 39 (3). pp. 80-100. ISSN 2046-5378

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Abstract

Orkney has been named the best place to live in Scotland for the third year in a row according to the 2015 Bank of Scotland Quality of Life Survey…. rural areas scored consistently across a range of categories covering health and life expectancy, personal well-being and a low crime rate. Glasgow, Scotland’s biggest city and the most densely populated area of the country, was ranked lowest. (Scotsman, 18th December, 2015). This paper examines three questions. First, it examines the question of what makes people in Scotland “happy”, by investigating the factors that affect this in Scotland. There is now a well-established body of academic work on happiness, but this is the first time this type of analysis has been conducted for Scotland. Second, in light of recent policy developments, particularly the notion of a Northern Powerhouse, it focuses on happiness in Scottish cities versus other areas. Finally, it tests the NEG account of spatial development by examining whether happiness is equalised across different types of area. The results show that cities are locations with low life satisfaction scores.