PhD Defence: Efstratia Arampatzi

In her dissertation ‘Subjective Well-Being in Times of Crisis Evidence on the wider impact of economic crises and turmoil on subjective well-being’, Efstratia Arampatzi uses subjective judgments of how well we do in life to provide evidence on the wider impact of economic crises and turmoil on SWB.

Efstratia Arampatzi defended her dissertation in the Senate Hall at Erasmus University Rotterdam on Thursday, November 1 at 15:30. Her supervisors were Prof. Harry CommandeurProf. Frank van Oort and Prof. Martijn Burger. Other members of the Doctoral Committee are Prof. D. Skouras (University of Patras) and Job van Exel(ESHPM)


About Efstratia Arampatzi

Efstratia holds a degree in International and European studies from the University of Macedonia in Greece and a master’s degree in Economics and Business from Erasmus University in the Netherlands. She started her PhD in 2014 under the supervision of Harry Commandeur, Frank van Oort and Martijn Burger. Her research focuses on happiness economics and the determinants of subjective well-being, including the effects of economic shocks and the role of governance, occupational choice, and social network sites. She has co-authored several articles published in the Journal of Happiness Studies, Applied Economic Letters and Review of Income and Wealth.

Thesis Abstract

Over the last few years, policy-makers and scholars have highlighted the (complementary) role of subjective well-being (SWB) indicators in evaluating economic and social progress, however, research on SWB related to the causes and consequences of socioeconomic phenomena such as social uprisings and economic crises is in general limited. In this dissertation I use subjective judgments of how well we do in life to provide evidence on the wider impact of economic crises and turmoil on SWB.
In the first part of this dissertation, I explore the relative performance of an income-based indicator of prosperity compared to a subjective well-being indicator of prosperity and empirically examine the factors that possibly drive their differences. My findings suggest that four key factors – perceptions about standards of living, unemployment rates, perceptions about local job market and perceptions about corruption in government– explain the discrepancy between the two types of measures.
In the second part, I examine the sources and preconditions in which positive economic progress goes hand in hand with dissatisfaction and preconditions in which negative economic progress is less painful. Despite the progress observed in many Arab Spring countries prior to the social uprisings, the decline observed in life satisfaction on the eve of the Arab spring was associated primarily with dissatisfaction with the standard of living, poor labor market conditions, and corruption in the form of nepotism or cronyism. Regarding the impact of economic downturns on SWB, I find three factors that moderate SWB losses; financial distress, economic expectations and regional quality of governance.

Photos: Chris Gorzeman / Capital Images