The Strange Relationship between Literacy and Well-Being: The Results of an International Survey with Special Focus on Italy
Authors: Federica Cornali
Does education matter to the quality of our life? The results of extensive studies offer an affirmative answer to this question: high education levels are positively associated with higher income, with more highly qualified professions, with lower risk of unemployment, with better physical health and also, it is said, with more happiness. However, exploring these relationships is far from straightforward. Aside from educational credentials, what properties distinguish functionally literate individuals? How can their personal level of satisfaction be measured? What are the social mechanisms whereby education affects well-being?Using a literacy index and several measures for well-being developed by secondary analysis of the Adult Literacy and Life Skills Survey database, this investigation examined the relationship between literacy skills and subjective wellbeing in several OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries. Special attention was been addressed to Italy, and in particular to two regions representing territorial differences in this country: Piedmont and Campania.
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.1080330Procedia APA BibTeX Chicago EndNote Harvard JSON MLA RIS XML ISO 690 PDF Downloads 2974
 T. W. Schultz, "Investment in Human Capital," The American Economic Review, 1(2), 1961, pp. 1-17.
 G. S. Becker, Human Capital: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis, with Special Reference to Education. Cambridge: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1975.
 OECD, Human Capital Investment. An International Comparison. Paris: Oecd, 1998.
 A. Krueger & M. Lindahl, "Education for growth: Why and for whom?," Journal of Economic Literature, XXXIX, pp. 1101-1136, 2001.
 E. Denison, Why Growth Rates Differ. Washington D.C.: The Brookings Institution, 1967.
 E. Denison, Accounting for Slower Economic Growth: The United States in the 1970s. Washington D.C.: The Brookings Institution, 1979.
 D. Cohen & M. Soto, "Growth and human capital: Good data, good results," CEPR discussion paper, vol 3025, London: Centre for Economic Policy Research, 2001.
 A. Bassanini & S. Scarpetta, "Does human capital matter for growth in OECD countries? Evidence from pooled mean-group estimates," OECD Economics Department Working Paper, 282, 2001.
 J. Feldman, D. Makuc, J. Kleinman & J. Cornoni-Huxley, "National trends in educational differentials in mortality," American Journal of Epidemiology, 129, pp. 919-933, 1989.
 B. Wolfe and R. Haveman, Accounting for the Social and Non-market Benefits of Education, paper presented at Symposium on the Contribution of Human and Social Capital to Sustained Economic Growth and Well Being, Quebec, March 19-21, 2000.
 D. Kenkel, "Health Behavior, Health, Knowledge and Schooling," Journal of Political Economy, 99(2), pp. 287-305, 1991.
 D. G. Blanchflower and A. J. Oswald, Well-being over Time in Britain and the USA. Working Paper 7487, Cambridge: National Bureau of Economic Research, 2000.
 S. Verba, K. L. Schlozman and H. E. Brady, Voice and Equality: Civic Voluntarism in American Politics. Cambridge, M.A.: Harvard University Press, 1995.
 N. H. Nie, J. Junn and K. Stehlik-Barry Education and Democratic Citizenship in America. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996.
 T. Schuller, J. Bynner, A. Green, L. Blackwell, C. Hammond and N. J. Preston, Modelling and Measuring the Wider Benefits of Learning: An Initial Synthesis. London: Centre for Research on the Wider Benefits of Learning Institute of Education/Birkbeck College, 2001.
 UNDP, Human Development Report. New York: Undp, 1999.
 J. R. Beherman and N. Stacey, Eds., The Social Benefits of Education. The University of Michigan Press, 1997.
 OECD, The Well-being of Nations. The Role of Human and Social Capital. Paris: Oecd, 2001.
 OECD, Literacy, economy and society: Results of the First International Adult Literacy Survey. Paris-Ottawa: Oecd, 1995.
 OECD, Literacy in the Information Age. Paris: Oecd, 2000.
 OECD, First Results of the Adult Literacy and Life Skills Survey. Paris: Oecd, 2005.
 E. Diener, Guidelines for National Indicators of Subjective Well-Being and Ill-Being, mimeo, 2005.
 D. Kahneman and A. B. Krueger, "Developments in the Measurement of Subjective Well-Being," Journal of Economic Perspectives, 20, 1, pp. 3- 24, 2006.
 C. D. Ryff and C. L. Keyes, "The Structure of Psychological Well-Being Revisited," J. Pers. Soc. Psychol. 69(4), pp. 719-27, 1995.
 E. Diener, "Assessing Subjective Well-Being: Progress and Opportunities," Social Indicators Research, 31 (2), pp. 103-157, 1994.
 E. Diener, M. Emmons, R. J. Larsen and S. Griffin, "The satisfaction with Life Scale," Journal of Personality Assessment, 49, pp. 71-75, 1985.
 R. Rudd, I. Kirsch and K. Yamamoto, Literacy and Health in America. A Policy Information Center Report. Princeton, NJ: Educational Testing Service, 2004.
 B. D. Weiss, Epidemiology of Low Health Literacy, in: Understanding Health Literacy: Implications for Medicine and Public Health, J. G. Schwartzberg, J. B. Van Geest and C. C. Wang, Eds., AMA Press, 2005, pp. 17-39.
 E. Diener and R. Biswas-Diener, "Will money increase subjective wellbeing?", Social Indicators Research, 57, pp. 119-169, 2002.
 D. Rock, "Validity Generalization of the Assessment Across Countries", in S. T. Murray et al., Eds., Adult Literacy in Oecd Countries. Technical Report on the First International Adult Literacy Survey, pp. 135-142, Washington: U.S. Department of Education, 1998.
 W. Pavot and E. Diener, "Well-being (including life satisfaction)," in Encyclopedia of psychological assessment, 2, R. Fernandez Ballesteros, Ed., London: Sage, 2003, pp. 1097-1101.
 E. Diener, E. M. Suh, R. E. Lucas and H. L. Smith, "Subjective wellbeing: Three decades of progress," Psychological Bulletin, 125, pp. 276- 302, 1999.
 M. Silverstein and M. G. Parker, "Leisure activities and quality of life among the oldest old in Sweden," Research on Aging, 24(5), pp. 528- 547, 2002.
 S. Galloway, "Cultural participation and individual quality of life: A review of research findings," Applied Research in Quality of Life, 1, pp. 323-342, 2006.
 S. A. Stouffer, E. A. Suchman, L. C. Devinney, S. Star and R. M. Williams, The American Soldier: Adjustment during Army Life. Princeton: N.J. Princeton University Press, 1949.