Thomas Markussen, University of Copenhagen

"The Happy Farmer, Self-Employment and Subjective Well-being in Rural Vietnam"


Using survey data from rural Vietnam, this paper documents a significant, positive effect of selfemployment in farming on subjective well-being. Wage workers are less happy than farmers across a range of different types of wage jobs and among both young and old workers, although the effect is strongest for the old. These results indicate a psychological cost of structural change, which may contribute to explaining earnings gaps between sectors and types of employment. We also investigate other determinants of happiness, such as income, age, gender, children, ethnicity, marital status, schooling, landlessness, migration, social networks and shocks.