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More gloom on the horizon

Optimism has proved to be another major victim of the economic crisis, according to How’s Life? Indeed, people’s long-term expectations about their subjective well-being fi ve years from now have deteriorated almost everywhere in the OECD area. And most of them don’t expect things to get much better. 

Unsurprisingly, the decline in life satisfaction has been greatest in countries most affected by the crisis, especially the euro area. For instance, over the four years to 2012, average life satisfaction declined by more than 20% in Greece, and by around 12% in Italy and 10% in Spain. Life satisfaction also declined, though to a lesser extent, in Belgium, Denmark, Hungary, New Zealand, Turkey, and the US. On the other hand, life satisfaction increased by more than 4% in Germany and Israel and by more than 5% in Mexico, the Russian Federation and Sweden.

The same hard hit countries that reported a drop in life satisfaction since the outset of the crisis still feel gloomy about the future. Greece, Ireland and Spain remain pessimistic, though Italy bucks the trend as optimism wins the day there.

Interestingly, countries that have been relatively buoyant during the crisis seem to believe that the good days are behind them. Mexico’s pessimism tops that of Greece. And emerging stars, including China, India, Russia and Turkey, are now shuffl ing into the ranks of the gloomsters.

See www.oecd.org/daf/ca/corporategovernanceprinciples/corporategovernanceandthefinancialcrisis.htm  

Also see http://www.oecdbetterlifeindex.org/topics/life-satisfaction/

©OECD Observer No 297, Q4 2013