Who is happy in the land of eternal blue sky? Some insights from a first study of wellbeing in Mongolia
Keywords:Subjective well-being, Mongolia, community income, stress, freedom of expression
Abstract: We conducted the first extensive study of wellbeing in Mongolia, a country that has experienced a dramatic transition in both its economy and polity in recent decades. We found that most of the standard determinants of wellbeing were no different in Mongolia than they are for most countries in the world, despite the unique context and the extreme changes there, with individual income, health, marital status, and exercise all positively associated with life satisfaction. The same variables had positive but weaker correlations with our measure of hedonic wellbeing. When we split our sample into those above and below median income, however, there were some important differences in the findings. As in many other contexts, stress is negatively correlated with wellbeing in Mongolia, and the primary triggers were concerns about income, family, and the living environment. Finally, we found that freedom of expression has an important positive association with wellbeing in Mongolia, perhaps reflecting the extent to which it is an island of political freedom compared to its neighbors.
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