Disabled people are less satisfied with their lives compared with nondisabled people. The first chapter of this doctoral thesis aims to understand how much of this differential is explained by the actual impairments disabled people have and how much by the barriers they face to a full participation in society. Contrasting evidence on the effect of education on subjective well-being (SWB) suggests that other factors, such as aspirations or income, might mediate the relationship between satisfaction and educational attainment. As regards working status, however, the positive impact of holding a job and the negative effect of being unemployed on individual happiness remain unquestioned (Di Tella et al., 2001; Frey & Stutzer; 2000; 2010). The data is taken from the European Survey on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC) for year 2013. The EU-SILC is an annual survey including 32 countries, the 28 European Member States and four additional countries (Iceland, Norway, Serbia and Switzerland), which is addressed to individuals aged 16 or older living in private households. In year 2013 only, it included an ad hoc module on well-being. Results show that disabled people are significantly less likely to be working, as well as less satisfied with their lives on average. Moreover, societal participation has a positive impact on subjective well-being. The disability policies of different OECD member states have been converging since 1990, with benefits getting progressively less generous, a tightening of eligibility criteria and increased emphasis on active labour market policies. Literature on the impact of reduced benefits and activation policies on the employment of disabled people is inconclusive. However, most of it analyzes either active or passive policies. The second chapter of this thesis focuses instead on the combined effect of different policies on disabled people's labour market attachment. Google scholar was used as a search engine and snowballing allowed to find additional papers. The literature was then scanned for relevance. Northern European welfare regimes are the most effective at employing disabled individuals, with Anglo-Saxon and Eastern European regimes are at the other hand of the spectrum. The Danish model of flexicurity has a negative impact on the labour market attachment of disabled individuals, but the Dutch model does not. The employment chances of disabled people increase with national employment rates. Conclusions can be drawn about which policy mix would increase the labour market attachment of disabled people with residual work capacity. The third chapter considers both satisfaction and meaning of life (as different facets of happiness), investigating whether environmental accessibility mediates the relationship between disability and happiness. Furthermore, the effect of accessibility on the happiness of different categories of disabled is analysed. The environmental accessibility index is built using data from the 2012 Eurobameter survey on accessibility, while the rest of the variables come from the EU-SILC 2013, which includes an ad hoc module on well-being. Findings show that higher environmental accessibility narrows the happiness gap between disabled people and the rest, even after interaction terms between disability and working status are introduced. Moreover, environmental accessibility has a greater impact on the happiness of older disabled people, while the opposite is true of disabled people in the highest income quartile.

Bellia, A. (2021). Disability and happiness: the role of social policies [10.25434/bellia-asya_phd2021].

Disability and happiness: the role of social policies

Bellia, Asya
2021-01-01

Abstract

Disabled people are less satisfied with their lives compared with nondisabled people. The first chapter of this doctoral thesis aims to understand how much of this differential is explained by the actual impairments disabled people have and how much by the barriers they face to a full participation in society. Contrasting evidence on the effect of education on subjective well-being (SWB) suggests that other factors, such as aspirations or income, might mediate the relationship between satisfaction and educational attainment. As regards working status, however, the positive impact of holding a job and the negative effect of being unemployed on individual happiness remain unquestioned (Di Tella et al., 2001; Frey & Stutzer; 2000; 2010). The data is taken from the European Survey on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC) for year 2013. The EU-SILC is an annual survey including 32 countries, the 28 European Member States and four additional countries (Iceland, Norway, Serbia and Switzerland), which is addressed to individuals aged 16 or older living in private households. In year 2013 only, it included an ad hoc module on well-being. Results show that disabled people are significantly less likely to be working, as well as less satisfied with their lives on average. Moreover, societal participation has a positive impact on subjective well-being. The disability policies of different OECD member states have been converging since 1990, with benefits getting progressively less generous, a tightening of eligibility criteria and increased emphasis on active labour market policies. Literature on the impact of reduced benefits and activation policies on the employment of disabled people is inconclusive. However, most of it analyzes either active or passive policies. The second chapter of this thesis focuses instead on the combined effect of different policies on disabled people's labour market attachment. Google scholar was used as a search engine and snowballing allowed to find additional papers. The literature was then scanned for relevance. Northern European welfare regimes are the most effective at employing disabled individuals, with Anglo-Saxon and Eastern European regimes are at the other hand of the spectrum. The Danish model of flexicurity has a negative impact on the labour market attachment of disabled individuals, but the Dutch model does not. The employment chances of disabled people increase with national employment rates. Conclusions can be drawn about which policy mix would increase the labour market attachment of disabled people with residual work capacity. The third chapter considers both satisfaction and meaning of life (as different facets of happiness), investigating whether environmental accessibility mediates the relationship between disability and happiness. Furthermore, the effect of accessibility on the happiness of different categories of disabled is analysed. The environmental accessibility index is built using data from the 2012 Eurobameter survey on accessibility, while the rest of the variables come from the EU-SILC 2013, which includes an ad hoc module on well-being. Findings show that higher environmental accessibility narrows the happiness gap between disabled people and the rest, even after interaction terms between disability and working status are introduced. Moreover, environmental accessibility has a greater impact on the happiness of older disabled people, while the opposite is true of disabled people in the highest income quartile.
Bellia, A. (2021). Disability and happiness: the role of social policies [10.25434/bellia-asya_phd2021].
Bellia, Asya
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11365/1147128